Combined U.S. subscriptions to the ad-supported tiers of major streaming services surpassed 100 million as of June, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.
Hulu, Peacock and Paramount+ represent the bulk of ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) subscriptions, but uptake for the new ad tiers of Netflix and Disney+ are showing strong growth.
At Netflix, where uptake is now being driven largely by its crackdown on account sharing, more than 1 million AVOD accounts represent nearly 2% of the service’s total U.S./Canadian accounts, which stood at nearly 76 million as of Q2 2023.
About 800,000 of Disney+’s U.S. accounts are on the ad-supported tier, also representing nearly 2% of its U.S./Canadian total (46.3 million as of May 1).
Prior to the launch of Max in May, Discovery+ had
about 10 million ad-supported accounts, and HBO Max about 2 million.
Hulu, which launched as an ad-supported subscription service in 2010, before launching its ad-free tier in 2015, has the largest number of U.S. AVOD subs, at about 45 million. Ampere estimates that more than 90% of Hulu subscribers are on the ad-supported tier.
Among the newer ad-tier offerings, Peacock is leading, with more than 30 million U.S. AVOD subs.
Paramount+ is close behind, with more than 25 million U.S. ad-supported subscribers.
Ampere expects that ad-supported subscription tiers in the U.S. will generate more than $10 billion in advertising revenue in 2027.
As the researcher notes, AVOD subscriptions, with their hybrid advertising/subscription fee model, often yield higher revenue per user than higher-priced ad-free subs — the reality driving the Netflix and Disney+ launches and increased emphasis on ad-supported tiers among other services. Netflix’s recent decision to drop its cheapest, “basic” ad-free option is meant to drive new subscribers to its Basic with Ads tier. Peacock dropped its free, ad-supported option (FAST) in February, also to drive more subscribers to its more profitable AVOD offering.