Netflix Losing Viewer Shares to Hulu, Amazon Prime

NEW YORK—When 2019 comes to a close, Netflix will still be the most popular OTT streaming service in the U.S., but it isn’t all sunshine and roses according to a new report from eMarketer. Netflix will have 158.8 million viewers of the 182.5 million people using OTT services in 2019 (87%), and yet its share of the market has declined as other services, most notably Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, have made inroads.

In 2014, Netflix had a 90% share of the streaming market. Now, even as its subscriber base is expected to grow from 158.8 million this year to 177.5 million by 2023, its share of the total market is expected to continue to decrease to a projected 86.3% in 2023.

Hulu is one of the streamers taking the biggest bite out of Netflix’s share. Estimates from eMarketer expect Hulu to reach 75.8 million viewers in 2019, 41.5% of the subscription OTT market and a 17.5% growth in viewers year-over-year with 2018—though that is down from the growth Hulu say in 2018, when it shot up 49.6%.

Amazon Prime Video is slated to remain the second most-popular service behind Netflix, with 96.5 million subscribers (52.9% market share). OTT subscribers across all of the services account for 55.3% of the U.S. population, says eMarketer.

“The market for streaming video has been driven by an explosion in high-end original content and low subscription costs relative to traditional pay TV,” said Eric Haggstrom, eMarketer forecasting analysis. “A strong customer appetite for new shows and movies has driven viewer growth for services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, as well as the broader market.”

That appetite will continue to be satiated with the launches of new streaming services from Disney (which also owns Hulu), Apple and NBC Universal, which will all start to earn their own shares of the market. Haggstrom concludes that the biggest challenge to Netflix may come from Disney.

“While there is no true ‘Netflix killer’ on the market, Disney’s upcoming bundle with Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ probably comes closest,” he said. “Netflix’s answer has been to stick to what made it the market leader—outspending the competition on both licensed and original content, offering customers a competitive price.”

For more information, the full report is available here.