Video streaming is one of the rare industries that benefited greatly from the pandemic, through lockdowns, stay-at home orders and remote work. However, a surge of new players is making the market pretty saturated, and the original powerhouses are taking a hit.

The explosively growing TV streaming business was worth nearly $43 billion in 2019–before the COVID catalyst.  Now, it’s expected to reach an astounding $170 billion by 2023 … and every company is aiming for as big a slice as possible.

In addition to the benefits of people being forced to stay at home during the pandemic, streaming companies are also getting a boost from different other major trends, not the least of which is a mass cutting of the cable. 

Almost 2 million American households canceled cable and satellite TV subscriptions last year. They followed the 5.5 million households who cut the cord in 2019.

Experts say that more and more Americans will opt out of cable and satellite in favor of online streaming services. Projections are that 76 million households are expected to cut the cable cord by 2023. 

However, while the streaming market is trouncing cable, competition within the segment itself is fierce. Even in the high-growth streaming business, experts warn that the marketplace cannot support this many major players. There’s a ton of pressure from a world expecting to have new and increasingly exciting forms of digital entertainment at all hours of the COVID day. 

Netflix is currently the market leader, with more than 80 million subscribers in the U.S. and 200 million subscribers globally, followed by Amazon with more than 110 million subscribers. But Netflix isn’t guaranteed this status forever. 

Other streaming services such as Hulu are relatively small by comparison, but even so, it has some 36 million subscribers in the U.S. 

Disney’s new service, DisneyPlus, has surpassed 73 million subscribers just since it launched in late 2019.

AT&T WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and Comcast’s Peacock just made their market debuts, as well.

But one newcomer is shaking up market share more than expected. According to a new report by Reelgood on Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD), Disney+ and HBO Max saw the largest growth in the last quarter of 2020, with the latter positioned to overtake Hulu, which currently has 15% of the market share, first. 

Netflix’s market share dropped from 25% in Q3 to 22% in Q4 2020. Amazon Prime Video also saw its market share drop from 22% in the third quarter to 20%.

Elsewhere, DisneyPlus’ streaming market share grew from 5% in Q3 to 6% in Q4 2020. The market share of HBO Max grew from 9% percent in Q3 to 12%, and analysts believe that it will be higher as Warner Bros is scheduled to premiere on both the HBO streaming platform and in theatres simultaneously later this year. So, Netflix … look out, streaming is hot and these are its golden days, but this playing field means you can’t drop the ball, even for a digital second.

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