In recent years, numerous businesses have launched streaming services, hoping to capitalize on the digital media revolution and sparking the so-called “streaming wars.”

Following Netflix’s remarkable development from a small DVD rental company to a household name, every major media corporation, from Disney plus (See Disney Plus Begin instructions page) to Apple, saw a potential to benefit from recurring revenue. Similarly, the audio industry has long accepted Spotify’s dominance, as streaming has evolved into a de facto consumption mode for many individuals.

However, the unexpected COVID-19 outbreak has consolidated digital streaming’s position, with subscription services seeing tremendous growth over the last year. While many new services were anticipated to fail along the way, media subscription services grew in popularity and growth almost everywhere.

We reviewed subscription video, audio, and news services with over 5 million subscribers to discover which services ranked highest and expanded the fastest over the last year. The data comes from the FIPP media association and individual corporation reports.

Amazon Prime and Netflix are the streaming service market leaders.

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Netflix has established itself as the unchallenged leader in digital video streaming, with more than 200 million global subscribers. While the company’s customer base in the Americas has plateaued, its expansion in reach (190+ countries) and content (70+ original films scheduled in 2021) has put it more than 50 million members ahead of the nearest competitor.

Similar trends exist in the audio business, where Spotify’s 144 million members outnumber Apple Music’s 68 million.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s second-place placement as the world’s most popular video streaming service may surprise some with 150 million subscribers. On the other hand, Prime Video subscriptions are bundled with Amazon Prime membership, which saw a significant surge in usage during the pandemic.

Another point of distinction is Asia’s significant concentration of massive streaming providers. Tencent Video (previously known as WeTV) and Baidu’s iQIYI streaming service in China have topped 100 million paid subscribers, with Alibaba’s Youku coming in second with 90 million.

Disney Is the Streaming Industry’s Growth Leader

Perhaps the most fantastic aspect of Disney’s rapid climb to the top echelons of streaming service juggernauts is its meteoric leap to the top echelons of streaming service juggernauts. Even though Disney+ began in late 2019 with an inadequate content collection (only one original series with one episode), it has grown significantly in content and membership. In less than a year, it topped Disney’s estimated subscriber count by 2024, with roughly 95 million users.

Additionally, the Disney+ wave encouraged growth for partner streaming services such as Hotstar and ESPN+, while other services with smaller subscriber bases saw rapid growth due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The unsolved question is what the landscape will look like once the pandemic has passed, and all new players have been identified. Peacock, for example, said in January 2021 that it had crossed 30 million users but did not disclose the percentage of paying subscribers.

Similarly, competitors are increasing their investments in content libraries to catch up to Netflix and Disney. HBO Max/tv is set to launch internationally in June 2021, and ViacomCBS rebranded CBS All Access as Paramount+.

Additionally, global expansion is crucial. Subscribers are three of the top six most popular streaming services headquartered in China, while ALTBalaji, Hotstar, and Eros are headquartered in India. All three have seen increased subscriber bases in recent years, with extra room for growth.

HBO and HBO Max had 45.2 million US subscribers at the end of the third quarter, down 1.8 million from 47 million in the previous quarter, WarnerMedia parent and telecoms behemoth AT&T revealed Thursday.

Customers of HBO and HBO Max climbed by 1.9 million to 69.4 million worldwide, up from around 67.5 million at the end of June. According to the firm, the global number grew “thanks to strong global and ad-supported subscription growth,” which offset the user loss caused by Amazon’s departure. HBO Max launched in Latin America at the end of the second quarter, coinciding with the launch of the company’s advertising-supported subscription tier.

On the other hand, HBO lost over 5 million subscribers overnight in mid-September via Amazon Prime Video’s channels network after opting for a short-term penalty in exchange for a longer-term direct interaction with consumers. HBO immediately started a promotional push to convince those viewers to renew their subscriptions or sign up for new ones.

ServiceTypeSubscribers (Q4 2020)
YouTube PremiumVideo/Audio30M
YoukuVideo90.0M
ViuVideo41.4M
Tencent VideoVideo120.0M
Tencent Music (Group)Audio51.7M
Starz/StarzPlay/PantayaVideo13.7M
SpotifyAudio144.0M
Sirius XmAudio34.4M
Paramount+Video17.9M
PandoraAudio6.3M
Alt BalajiVideo40M
Amazon Prime MusicAudio55.0M
Amazon Prime VideoVideo150.0M
Apple MusicAudio68.0M
Apple TV+Video10M
DAZNVideo8M
DeezerAudio7M
Disney+Video94.9M
Disney+ HotstarVideo18.5M
Eros NowVideo36.2M