Disney+ has recorded a meteoric rise since launching one year ago and has helped to reshape Parks Associates’ newest list of the top 10 subscription video services.
The research firm compiled its latest list of the top SVODs as of September 2020 and the top three remain Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, in that order. After that, though, the list starts to look considerably different than Parks’ list compiled as of October 2019.
Disney+ is now the fourth largest U.S. SVOD in terms of subscribers and ESPN+ is right behind it. HBO Max, Apple TV+ (which also launched approximately one year ago), CBS All Access, Showtime and Starz round out the rest of the top ten. Sling TV and MLB.TV have both been bumped from the top ten. Parks said that NBCUniversal's Peacock is starting to make inroads in terms of paid subscriptions but that its user base is still mostly on the free, ad-supported tier.
"For many years, the Big 3 in OTT, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu, have ruled the top of the subscription-based OTT service space," said Steve Nason, research director at Parks Associates, in a statement. "However, with newer entrants and expanded offerings, that trend may be about to change. The Big 3 and their main challengers have gone to market with varying content and distribution strategies, with the same goal in mind: reach elusive consumers with a compelling content offering and user experience to be a foundational essential service in an OTT subscriber's service stack."
Nason said that Disney+’s 10 million signups upon initial launch put Disney+ as fourth on the list and the service has remained there for almost a year.
“That shows how difficult it will be for any service to break into the 'Big 3' for OTT services. Partnerships are essential. For example, HBO Max will get a boost from its deal with Amazon to roll out its service on Amazon Fire TV devices,” Nason said.
As U.S. SVODs compete to grow their subscriber bases, the market opportunity for all subscription services is growing. Parks said that 78% of U.S. broadband households subscribe to at least one OTT service, up from 71% in the previous year.