Like it or not, and by the way viewers have taken to it proves they like it, streaming services are here to stay. The ability to pick and choose what one watches, when one wants to watch it, is a draw that is hard to resist. For this reason, the creation of streaming services has been on the uptick, with a few big-name companies joining the fray and making some noise. Some of these new streaming services have suddenly jumped into the Top 10 list of streaming services, with one in particular climbing into the top five.
Park Associates, a woman-founded market research and consulting company, annually tracks the Top 10 US subscription over-the-top (OTT) video/streaming services. In case you were wondering, OTT, simply put, is any streaming media (which can be video or audio) that is offered directly to its viewers via the Internet. This year, ahead of the third annual Future of Video conference, they have again released their top ten, a list that when compared with last year, holds a few surprises. The top three are not included in those surprises.
From 2019, Park Associates Top 3 streaming services were comprised of the biggies and in this order. 1) Netflix, 2) Amazon Prime Video, and 3) Hulu. 2020s list sees those same top three in that same order. But then things get interesting. 2019s top five rounded out with 4) HBO Now and 5) CBS All Access. 2020 saw big changes with a newcomer to the list at 4 with Disney+ and 5, not a newcomer but moving up from 9, ESPN+.
There could be a catch with ESPN+ moving up so high in the top streaming services list, as it was included in a package deal with Disney+ that included Hulu and ESPN+ for a discounted rate if you were to sign up for Disney+. With these two entries into the 2020 Top 5, this means HBO Now and CBS All Access got bumped. HBO Now was going to get bumped regardless because HBO Max has now taken its place. Another newcomer to the 2020 Top 10 would be the Apple TV+ streaming service. While it didn’t crack the top five, it made a strong first impression by arriving at number 7.
When comparing 2019’s top streaming services with 2020, a couple of things stand out besides Disney+ joining the list at 4 and Apple TV+ at 7 is the fact that MLB TV and Sling TV lost their standing in the top 10. So, here are both the 2019 Top 10 and 2020 Top 10 list per Park Associates.
|1. Netflix||1. Netflix|
|2. Amazon Prime Video||2. Amazon Prime Video|
|3. Hulu||3. Hulu|
|4. HBO Now||4. Disney +|
|5. CBS All Access||5. ESPN+|
|6. Starz||6. HBO Max|
|7. Showtime||7. Apple TV+|
|8. MLB.TV||8. CBS All Access|
|9. ESPN+||9. Showtime|
|10. Sling TV||10. Starz|
Of course, there is an upside to these streaming services and there is also a downside. At first, the few streaming services were built as a much less expensive way to not only watch content but to offer competition to the price gouging cable companies. It worked. Until the numbers continued to rise and rise for the streaming service providers. Suddenly their prices also began to rise. What viewers thought they were saving on their cable bill was now being moved over to streaming. More streaming services were being created, adding to that monthly bill. Even with all these services breaking off from the cable companies, prices continued to climb. Prices have especially climbed for viewers who want access to more than one of the top streaming services. Now viewers need individual accounts for most all streaming services, many of which offer the ads included version or for a premium, no ads at all. That cable TV model is coming into play.
Price be damned, though. The numbers reflect this. Streaming viewership is on the rise and it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down. People like their content control and have decided they will pay a premium for it. The question now is, which one of these streaming services will unseat Netflix as the overall numero uno?
The way we watch movies has changed drastically over the past couple of years. Viewers are moving farther and farther away from what was the norm (network television and cable TV) for the growing-by-leaps-and-bounds streaming services. While families still have their televisions to sit in front of, many are now opting to watch content on whatever device they have, their phones, their tablets, their gaming consoles. A dramatic shift in the top streaming services is a predictable result.