With most Americans confined to their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic creating a “captive” audience, the demand for streaming content from home skyrocketed, leading to abrupt changes in viewership trends and audience profiles. “In the worst of times, it was the best of times for streaming,” Comscore assured in its latest report.
To capitalize on this abundance of at-home audiences, many streaming services have made strong pushes to acquire subscribers in the last year. From major advertising spending for building awareness to creative pricing bundles, these services are attempting to differentiate themselves in their content and value to consumers. Comscore “Ad Metrix Media Spend” report indicates that Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, YouTube, and Amazon accounted for $500 MM in advertising spend in 2020 to promote their streaming platforms.
Among the top five OTT streaming services, Netflix is ranked first and garnered a share of 34.4% of viewership in terms of total hours measured across these five services in January 2021. The ranking of the OTT streaming services remained unchanged relative to December 2020. Netflix has been a dominant player amongst streaming services for years, but new services like Disney+ are still able to gain momentum compared to established services.
Among network-based streaming services, ESPN is ranked first and garnered a viewership share of 47.8%, with a sizable lead over other services in this group. Its ranking amongst network OTT services remained unchanged relative to December 2020. Among vMVPD OTT apps, Spectrum is ranked first and garnered a viewership share of 31.1%, followed by Sling and Pluto TV. While the ranking of these three apps in January 2021 remained unaffected relative to the previous month, Xfinity Stream moved up a rank and Philo moved down by a rank.
Comscore also performed an unsupervised cluster analysis (p=0.01), as a function of January 2021 viewership hours, to identify naturally occurring sub-groups in the data. The sub-groups referred to three distinct types of OTT services: Fully-Established, Somewhat-Established and Emerging.
Netflix and YouTube are part of the Fully-Established cluster with highest viewership, followed by Amazon Video and Hulu, which are part of Somewhat-Established cluster. The remaining eleven OTT service apps are part of the Emerging cluster. Each of these three clusters of OTT services are nicely separated from one another, thus highlighting the viewership popularity gap that exists for Emerging apps to catch up with Somewhat-Established apps and the same for Somewhat-Established apps with Fully-Established ones.