Netflix’s social engagement numbers continued to be robust in 2021 — although some newer competitors rivaled its share while churning out considerably les content.
That’s according to a newly released 2021 streaming industry trends report from Diesel Labs.
The content intelligence firm analyzes millions of audience members’ engagement with the major streaming services’ content across all major social and video platforms, including (but not limited to) Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram. Those who engage are not necessarily subscribers/users of the streaming platform, but social engagement tends to be correlated with viewership and subscribership, according to Diesel.
Netflix’s engaged audience growth rate last year was modest compared to the other major services, at 32%. That would be expected based on its maturity and saturation levels in many major markets.
But Netflix’s volume of engagement continued to far outpace the younger competition: It had about as many new “engagers” in 2021 as Disney+ and HBO Max combined, and nearly twice as many as Apple TV+, Paramount+, Peacock and Hulu combined (chart above).
Further, despite its maturity, 63% of Netflix’s 2021 audience engaged for the first time during that year, according to the report.
The largest engaged-audience growth rates were logged by relative newcomers Peacock, Apple TV+, HBO Max and Disney+, at 377%, 367%, 320% and 141%, respectively. Volume-wise, HBO Max and Disney+ significantly outstripped Peacock and Apple TV+.
By comparison, the growth rate for newcomer Paramount+ was relatively modest, at 99%, as were those for well-established services Amazon Prime Video and Hulu (both up 55%).
Nearly 96% of Peacock’s engaged audience, and 93% of Apple TV+’s audience, engaged with those platforms for the first time in 2021.
On the content versus engagement front, it appears that Netflix may not be getting the biggest bang in return for its industry-leading volume of original content.
Last year, Netflix accounted for 57% of the original content releases among the eight major streamers analyzed, and 35% of the engagement.
Meanwhile, Disney+ generated just 5.4% of originals, but 29% of the engagement, and HBO Max generated 11% of the originals and 22% of the engagement.
The analysis found nearly 7% overlap between the engaged audiences of Netflix and HBO Max in 2021, and a 2% overlap between Disney+ and HBO Max, with 5% engaging across all three platforms. The chart also illustrates Netflix’s dominant engaged-audience share.
Unsurprisingly, when it came to which originals drove the highest audience engagement, franchise and intellectual property-related releases dominated.
New Marvel movies yielded four of the top 10 spots for Disney+, and nearly all of the top 10 were within the action/adventure genre.
Netflix’s “Squid Game” ranked No. 1, but it was Netflix’s only release to make the top 10.