OTT subscriber numbers to top 100 million this year

Tony Gunnarsson

Tony Gunnarsson

The total number of subscribers to online streaming services will pass 100 million on a global basis this year, according to new research by analysts Ovum.

Describing a “new era of streaming entertainment”, Ovum pointed to growing appetite for emerging on-demand platforms as evidence of the swing away from downloads and pay TV.

Ovum predicted that such OTT services such as HBO Now, CBS All Access and Sling TV from traditional TV players would push back against dedicated SVOD business such as Amazon Prime Instant Video, Hulu and Netflix.

This would push online streaming subscriber numbers past 100 million this year, with another 77 million expected by 2019. “What we’re seeing in maturing markets such as the US is that the audience is shifting towards premium linear streaming, which is augmenting well-established free on-demand services such as YouTube,” said Tony Gunnarsson, a senior analyst at Ovum’s TV Practice division.

“The emergence of stand-alone – often linear – streaming propositions such as PlayStation Vue and Yaveo represent the first that truly substitute for traditional pay TV,” he added.

Ovum, part of TBI publisher Informa Telecoms & Media, predicted the market would be come increasingly “unforgiving” to services that “fail to understand the increasingly complex array of choices available to the audience”, and that prices would be pushed downwards as multiplay offers discount bundles services.

This would lead to the creation of more programming and content distributors and new release windows.

“We see a shift in how TV is increasingly addressing individuals rather than households, and how the merging of online and broadcast advertising technologies and the ongoing hunger for true ‘Martini TV’ – any time, any place, anywhere – from the audience offers significant incremental revenue opportunities,” said Ed Barton, Ovum’s head of TV research and analysis.

“The proliferation of linear SVOD from traditional TV is just one part of this shift which underpins our firmly held view: TV’s best days lie ahead.”

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