Netflix loses U.S. viewer share to Amazon, Hulu – report

Netflix remote control image
eMarketer predicts that Netflix’s total viewers will keep growing and reach 177.5 million by 2023. (Pixabay/Creative Commons)

Netflix remains the dominant video streaming service in the U.S. and has a large audience, but rivals like Amazon Prime Video and Hulu are taking share from the company.

According to eMarketer, Netflix leads in the U.S. with 158.8 million viewers in 2019 despite the company missing subscriber growth expectations in the second quarter. But, Netflix’s share of U.S. OTT subscription users will continue dropping, from 90% of the market in 2014 to 87% this year.

“Netflix has faced years of strong competition for viewers, coming from streaming video platforms, pay TV services and even video games,” said Eric Haggstrom, forecasting analyst at eMarketer, in a statement. “While there is no true ‘Netflix killer’ on the market, Disney’s upcoming bundle with Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ probably comes closest. Netflix’s answer has been to stick to what has made it the market leader—out-spending the competition on both licensed and original content, offering customers a competitive price.”

RELATED: Deeper Dive—Disney+ and the case of the Netflix-killing bundle

eMarketer predicts that Netflix’s total viewers will keep growing and reach 177.5 million by 2023. But, over that same time period the company’s U.S. viewer share will slightly decline from 87% to 86.3%.

That decline could happen in part because of rivals snatching up larger shares of the audience. The firm estimates Hulu will reach 75.8 million viewers this year and account for 41.5% of subscription OTT video service users in the U.S. Hulu’s number of individual viewers will grow by 17.5% in 2019, but that’s well short of the 49.6% growth rate the company experienced in 2018.

At the same time Amazon is expected to stay in second place in the U.S. with 96.5 million U.S. viewers, up 8.8% year over year. eMarketer said that by 2021, the number of Amazon Prime Video viewers will equal one third of the U.S. population.

“The market for streaming video has been driven by an explosion in high-end original content and low subscription costs relative to traditional pay TV,” Haggstrom said. “A strong consumer appetite for new shows and movies has driven viewer growth for services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, as well as the broader market.”