Connected TV: Are Streamers Already Cannibalizing Themselves?

Connected TV isn’t a wide open marketplace where any new competitor can get a foothold. Perhaps cannibalization is occurring — even as an expected rising market looks to capitalize on a significant continued stay at-home workforce.

LightShed Partners, referencing a July Comscore data survey, said five streaming services control 83% of U.S. connected-TV usage — Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Hulu.

Netflix was at a 26% share; YouTube, 21%; Amazon Prime Video, 17%; Hulu, 14%; and Disney+, 5%; with others at 17% when it comes to all connected TV viewing hours. (The big three — Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video — control a combined 64%.)

Now, this isn’t to say the CTV marketplace overall is stagnant: It continues to grow. It’s just that the rich might be getting richer.



Perhaps more revealing is that the top CTV individual programs, according to Nielsen, have been dominated by Netflix programming. Eight of the top 10 SVOD (subscription video-on-demand) programs are on Netflix in term of viewing minutes through televisions sets.

The top two — “Cobra Kai” (2.2 billion minutes) and “Lucifer” (1.4 billion minutes) — dominating the list in terms of minutes for the week ending September 6. Amazon’s “The Boys” and Disney+’s “Mulan” were the two non-Netflix shows. For the week ending August 23, Netflix dominated all top 10 positions.

As of yet, three other major media companies streaming efforts — WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, NBCUniversal’s Peacock, ViacomCBS’ CBS All Access — haven’t as yet built a sizable Netflix-like base to compete on this programming level.

Yet, looking at many different research reports since the pandemic begin in March, CTV usage in overall minutes continues to rise. All that might seem to mean it is possible the business can still expand to new platforms.

Somewhat out of the loop at the moment is Apple TV+ -- which was one of the early starters, along with Disney+ -- in this most recent year-long wave of business launches.

But don’t write off Apple just yet, which continues to invest heavily in many different services for digital users. It goes into new businesses for the long-term. Just look how long Apple TV, its set-top TV box/app platform has been going -- 13 years ago, starting in 2007.

CTV had an early shakeout, including two younger-skewing premium streamers, FullScreen and NBCU’s Seeso, as well as Sony’s Playstation Vue (a virtual pay TV provider).

Microsoft’s Mixer, a video-game platform, which stopped operations, could also be part of the picture. (Video game console/platforms have been the basis for some operators -- like Sony -- looking to broaden into TV content.)

After a virtually a year of big launches, all major traditional TV/media companies will now be up and running with some version of a premium streaming-video platform. After that, the real battle for consumer’s attention — and revenues — will get going.

1 comment about "Connected TV: Are Streamers Already Cannibalizing Themselves?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 7, 2020 at 2:43 p.m.

    Interesting that ComScore's estimate of Netflix's share of streaming usage is well below  what Nielsen reported a short time ago ( 34% ). I wonder if that is a function of problems in being able to detect whose programming is on the screen---or is something else causing this difference?

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