Lower-Ranked Streaming Services Often Have Better Shows

NBCUniversal’s Peacock lags behind the other majors in subscriptions, but around here, its shows attract considerably more praise than the original content on the bigger streamers.

Since yesterday’s TV Blog about some Bravo content going to Peacock mentioned in passing that the NBCU-owned streaming service was far behind the market leaders, I went in search of the data.

Assembling a list ranking the streaming services and their subscriber counts involves drawing the numbers from various online sources.

Multiple websites come up with their data from an aggregation of news reports -- some published in 2023, but others from 2021 and 2022. 

It doesn’t matter much, because in the main, the numbers one can extrapolate from these sources present the situation with some degree of accuracy, especially in terms of the wide (even gaping) subscription gaps between the name-brand players.



However, one big snag is the fact that some of the online sources provide global subscriber counts without providing a domestic subscriber count.

Still other subscriber counts are provided with no way to determine whether these tallies are global or domestic.

It might also be true that only the streaming services at the top of the subscriber rankings have a global footprint worth considering.

Having said all that, one summary of the rankings might be: There’s Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ -- all with nine-figure subscribership -- and then there is everybody else.

Let’s start with Peacock, now reportedly at just north of 28 million subscribers. Peacock has seen some subscriber growth this year to reach that tally.

By contrast, Netflix is said to have 247 million global subscribers. Of those, 77.3 million are in the U.S. and Canada.

Disney+ subscribership stands at around 146 million globally, the sources say, with 122 million in the U.S.

Amazon Prime Video’s subscriber count is said to hover around 200 million, but this is really a count of Amazon Prime subscribers overall.

Max is said to have subscribership of around 76.8 million, but various online sources fail to draw a distinction between Max and its forebear, HBO Max. 

Paramount+ subscribership stands at 63.4 million, Hulu has 48.3 million and Apple TV+ has 33.6 million.

To me, it comes down to brand name. Despite its association with NBC and its famous peacock logo from long ago, the Peacock streaming brand is not yet established. Perhaps a name incorporating NBC might have been a better idea.

Netflix, Disney, Amazon, Hulu and even Apple (which is associated more with iPhones and other technology) are likely better recognized as streaming brands than Peacock.

As noted here many times, the strategy for building subscribership at both Netflix and Disney is based mainly on content tonnage. Their offerings are vast.

But also noted here in past TV Blogs: The original content on Peacock often emerges here as some of the best shows anywhere. The same can be said for Hulu and AMC+, which is said to have around 11 million subs.

Peacock’s “Poker Face” (pictured above) may have been the best-reviewed show here all year. 

Other Peacock shows that jumped out in 2023 and 2022 included “Mrs. Davis,” about a swashbuckling nun; “The Undeclared War,” about the threat of cyber espionage; “The Resort,” a mystery series; “The Calling,” about a Talmudic detective, and more.

It’s only one TV blogger’s opinion, which should always be taken with a grain of salt, but for the most part, Netflix shows and Disney+ shows (when they are available to review) do not fare as well in the TV Blog. 

Not that Netflix or Disney should care particularly. They are both the biggest for good reasons. Netflix was there first. And the Disney brand speaks for itself.

But Peacock? The TV Blog loves its shows -- but what does the Peacock name really mean, anyway?

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