Almost exactly a month ago, my brother was visiting. He is not OTT on anything that I can tell, but he’s cheap, so when I showed him my Amazon Prime user interface, I thought he might be impressed. He was.
“So you can get all of that just by subscribing to Amazon?” he asked. And I said, no, not exactly and explained how I paid for CBS All Access and MLB.TV and got HBO.GO because we subscribe to HBO via cable and this is just an authenticated add-on, but I get Bloomberg and a lot of other stuff as part of the Amazon package, and I get the kind of Hulu that I pay for but get some (really sloppily placed) ads in it, too.
Look, I said. Amazon also now offers SlingTV from which I can get about 20 cable channels for $20 a month, but I told him, it freezes up a lot.
He was no longer so impressed.
For people who actually do watch TV, but would be the kind who would say, “I just want to watch TV” with an implied hyphen between each word, over the top must seem complicated.
I’m impressed millions do it. And now I’m informed too.
After Time Warner announced that it acquired a 10% stake in Hulu, it took just a little while before eMarketer sent over some stats shedding light on where everybody stands in the known OTT universe.
Hulu has 67 million users, according to eMarketer data compiled at the end of 2015, compared to Amazon’s 73.2 million, Netflix’s 126.9 million and YouTube’s 176.1 million.
By 2019, when that grouping of SVOD’s will have a combined 199.6 million users, Hulu will have 88.2 million, just a sliver less than Amazon’s 88.6 million. Netflx will be up to 143 million, and YouTube will have 187.8 million.
That assumes no one does anything very stupid or market-shattering brilliant, which is not likely. In fact, Time Warner’s investment means Hulu may be on the verge of a showier expansion (and its own streaming service, next year). Amazon said it will double its expenditure on content through the rest 0f 2016. Netflix had a slightly down quarter, but made it plain it was not letting up on its spending plans. They’ll be going up from the $6 billion it will spend in 2016.
So it’s onward and upward, until, it appears, 2019 and after. Overall growth for that Big 4 of OTT will be only 1.7% by that time, indicating everybody coming aboard will have come aboard by then. Probably even my brother.
As people become more accustomed to OTT, it seems likely they’ll use it more. But this is hardly a slam dunk, it appears. A study out a few months ago notes that 20% of Amazon Prime subscribers never use the video part of their subscription and amazingly, 8% didn’t even know that the video service existed. (This would be a good time for the Venn diagram marking the overlap in where some Amazon subscribers and Trump supporters mesh.)