Commentary

OTT Growth Spreads Across Services

The big three streaming services continue to dominate the over-the-top market, but a host of mid-size and smaller players are gaining traction.

Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu are the most popular streaming video services, based on sheer number of subscribers, but the market is widening, according to a new survey from Parks Associates.

The research firm found that Sling TV, Showtime and CBS have all grown their share in the last year. The top ten services for over-the-top viewing at the end of the third quarter were Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, MLB.TV, WWE Network, Sling TV, HBO Now, Crunchyroll, Showtime and CBS All Access.

Parks notes that rising stars like Showtime and CBS are making big plays to capture market share in OTT. And MLB.TV has seen increases through partnerships, such as T-Mobile’s offering of a free subscription of MLB.tv at the beginning of baseball season.

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In general, about 63% of U.S. broadband homes have an OTT service, up from 57% at the start of 2015. Parks adds that Latino and Hispanic homes are fueling growth -- adoption in those homes is 15% higher than the rest of U.S. homes.

In the year ahead, Amazon will likely gain more ground. Now that the company has unbundled Prime video from its shipping fees, look for the streaming video service to pick up more customers, eMarketer said.  The research firm predicts this year Amazon will count 76.2 million video users, about 3 million more than forecast. And its customer base will grow 16.5 % this year, making it the fastest-growing OTT service.

Netflix has a bigger customer base, which translates into less room to grow. Hulu, meanwhile, has cut its free, ad-supported product, and its customer base will likely more than halve, eMarketer said.

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