Despite COVID restrictions lifting in many places, streaming continues to thrive. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu saw huge spikes in viewership during lockdowns in 2020, with the largest service, Netflix, seeing a 31.4% growth in subscribers YOY from 2019. And though restaurants, shopping areas, and cinemas have started opening across the world, streaming continues to see growth.
The growth of subscribers had slowed for many services at the beginning of 2021, but according to Conviva, a California research firm, worldwide streaming viewership grew 13% in April-June 2021. This shows that those spikes seen in the first lockdowns may not be spikes at all but a continuing trend that will continue for the foreseeable future.
Disney+ announced their Q3 earnings yesterday, showing that their platforms continue to see growth, with their subscribers exceeding expectations this quarter growing to 116 million instead of the expected 113.1 million. The takeaways from their announcement focus on their continued ad revenue growth and positive outlook for the future of streaming.
Hulu, owned by the Disney company, is one of the only streaming services that offers an ad supported option of the platform. As streaming continues to grow, advertisers are realizing the power of OTT services in reaching the TV watching demographic and focusing more ad dollars into those services.
Roku reported in their Q2 report that their total net revenue grew 81% year-on-year to $645m, while its platform revenue increased 117% year-on-year to $532m. They say their success is due to their “ongoing ad innovation” in the face of the switch from linear TV to OTT.
When considering the growth that streaming platforms are continuing to see as 2021 progresses, it is clear that OTT will stay in high demand even as the pandemic comes to an end. Those advertisers who haven’t invested in this new media are going to fall behind.
We can no longer consider this a trend, but a movement.
And heading into the colder months, we can expect that viewership for TV across the board will continue to climb, whether linear or non-linear. Advertisers re-gaining their budgets and their confidence should be keeping a close eye on the move to OTT and the options available for reaching that consistently growing audience.