More Ad-Supported Streaming Subscribers - For Upfront? Or Something Else?

Ad-supported streaming services are definitely growing. But the marketplace is still in need of more granular industry metrics to determine its specific impact for marketers.

Here is what we do know -- mostly.

Brian Wieser of Madison & Wall made recent estimates for the major premium streamers showing that the percentage of overall U.S/Canadian domestic subscribers will continue to climb.

Next year he says, 36% of Disney+ subscribers will be ad-supported. Hulu is projected to be at 65%; Max (28%); Netflix (15%); Paramount+ (58%); and Peacock (84%).

Compared to 2022, the numbers have seen dramatic improvement for the most part, with Disney+ at 3%, followed by Hulu at 60%, Max at 25%, Netflix with 0%, Paramount+ at 50% and Peacock at 80%.

In terms of pure numbers, Disney+  now totals 19 million with Hulu at 37 million, Max  at 8 million, Netflix at 12 million, Paramount+ at 28 million, and Peacock at 40 million.



But much other data is lacking -- for media buyers looking to drill down to what they are buying.

For example, Wieser says this is especially true when it comes to determining expanding reach -- something TV-video marketers continue to pursue as linear TV reach drops.

Also, he says, specific viewing associated be can’t determine among these individual ad-supported streaming viewers, as well as figuring out where the heaviest viewers are -- ad-free or ad-supported? Wieser guesses its ad-free.

However, he says that much of what we do know -- including estimates for subscriber “churn” and gross additions (sometime he also provided projections on) -- is showing a good start.

TV Watch also wonders, more for the near term, how to think about what this means for the upfront advertising market. 

For example Walt Disney proclaims that 45% of its upcoming 2024-2025 upfront business will be on streaming/CTV/digital platforms. Last year Disney amassed $9 billion in the upfront advertising sales market, 40% of it on streaming and digital.

Media agency executives -- for the whole market -- think it is going to be still less than 50%, this year.

Of the $27.1 billion in upfront advertising revenue  for the 2023-2024 season -- estimated by Media Dynamics -- $8 billion went to linear TV companies ad-supported streaming services.

Perhaps we are getting closer -- ever so slowly -- to more tangible usable financial data.

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