For many people, online streaming is now the preferred method for viewing shows, movies, sports, and events, as well as listening to music. From Netflix to YouTube to Spotify, national and international streaming services operate in almost every country.
As streaming becomes increasingly popular, we’re given access to a massive amount of data that can be used to help quantify the growing trends that promise to bring an end to traditional entertainment avenues. In this post, we reveal recent facts and statistics that help paint a picture of the video and music streaming industries.
Video streaming stats and facts
As internet bandwidth and speeds increase, streaming video is becoming a viable option for more consumers across the world. In many countries, users can now stream all of their favorite video content, from live TV to on-demand video. Here are some of the top stats from 2018–2021 that define the current trends in video streaming.
1. Subscribers flocked to Netflix and other streaming sites during the COVID-19 pandemic
While many businesses have struggled due to stay-at-home orders, streaming sites are among the businesses that have seen an uptick in sales. For example, Netflix added 36 million new subscribers in 2020 with almost 16 million subscribers in the first three months of 2020 alone.
Disney+ was another big winner, despite having only launched in November 2019. Since then, it has amassed around 116 million subscribers worldwide. This means that in a little over a year, it’s become more popular than Hulu (38.8 million subscribers), Peacock (22 million), and CBS All Access (17.9 million) combined.
2. Netflix has over 200 million subscribers
With the above gains, streaming giant Netflix has more than 200 million subscribers. The closest competitor is Amazon Prime Video which also has more than 200 million members, although since this is rolled into its standard Amazon Prime membership, it doesn’t give a clear indicator of how many people use the streaming service. China’s dominant streaming service is iQIYI, which has over 105 million paid subscribers.
3. YouTube has 2 billion monthly active users
More than two billion logged-in users access YouTube every month. The platform has over 30 million daily users watching over a billion hours of video every day. YouTube’s Android app has over five billion installs and the iOS version was 2019’s most downloaded app from the App Store. However, in 2020, it was knocked off of the top spot by Zoom, TikTok, and Disney+.
4. Netflix will spend over $19 billion on content in 2021
In 2020, Netflix shelled out over $17 billion on original content. To put this in context, Disney spent $16 billion while Amazon Prime Video spent $6.5 billion. Netflix isn’t planning to ease up, with an expected annual spend of $19 billion in 2021 and $26 billion by 2028.
5. Cost, ease of use, and variety are the most important streaming service attributes
According to the Nielsen Total Audience Report, 84 percent of users rank cost as either extremely or very important when selecting a streaming service. This is closely followed by ease of use (81 percent), variety or availability of content (79 percent), streaming and playback quality (77 percent), and speed of menu selection and content loading (74 percent).
6. Netflix accounts for almost one-third of video streaming
Nielsen (PDF link) found that Netflix has the largest share of streaming distribution at 34 percent (up from 31 percent in Q4 of 2019). YouTube isn’t too far behind with 20 percent. Much of the rest is shared by Hulu (11 percent) and Amazon Prime (eight percent). The same study found that streaming accounts for 25 percent of all TV usage — a 6% increase in less than a year.
7. Collectively, we’re streaming more than ever
According to a study by Conviva, we’re all using streaming services much more frequently. The region with the largest overall increase is South America, which is streaming on average 59% more than before the pandemic, while there’s been just a 17% rise across Asia.
8. The global streaming market will be worth upwards of $180 billion by 2027
A market research report by Grand View Research found that the global streaming market was worth $42.6 billion in 2019. It’s expected to grow more than 20 percent per year and reach a total of $184.3 billion by 2027.
9. Netflix’s revenue continues to see strong growth
Netflix’s revenue for Q2 2021 was over $7 billion. This represented a 25 percent increase as compared to the previous year. The pandemic has made year-over-year comparisons somewhat more complicated as we saw a spike of higher growth in 2019 and early 2020 before this tailed off towards the back end of 2020.
10. The most-watched shows rack up billions of streaming minutes
2020 saw the first ever Nielsen streaming report, which showed that while familiar shows like The Office remain extremely popular, Netflix Originals ultimately come out on top, at least in the short term. For instance, The Umbrella Academy accounted for more than 3 billion minutes of our attention on its own during its first week of release.
For contrast, the big shows of 2019 (in terms of streaming hours) were Lucifer, Stranger Things, 13 Reasons Why, Money Heist (La Casa de Papel), and Orange is the New Black, all of which happen to be Netflix series. In fact, 19 of the 20 most-streamed shows were Netflix titles.
Tiger King initially looked like a hot contender for the top spot this year. Within 10 days of its release, the show was streamed by over 34 million US viewers, and 64 million households watched within the first four weeks. By mid-April, viewers had sat through more than five billion minutes of the show. However, overall, it was the fourth most-watched, after Ozark, Lucifer, and The Crown.
11. Disney+ earned 10 million subscribers in one day
Disney’s new streaming service smashed analyst’s predictions when it launched in November 2019. Estimates suggested Disney+ would have around 8 million subscribers by the end of 2019 and 18 million by the end of 2020. As it turned out, the popularity of the service was grossly underestimated. Within a day of launching, 10 million users had signed up, and within three months, Disney+ had 28.6 million subscribers. The most recent reports put the number of users at 116 million and this will likely grow thanks to its exclusive straight-to-streaming titles like Mulan.
12. People are trying out streaming services during the COVID-19 pandemic
It’s official: streaming is the future. More than 80% of US households have at least one streaming subscription, and the ongoing pandemic has seen a slight increase in the number of American customers, according to Deloitte’s Digital Media Trends Survey, 15th edition.
What’s especially interesting is that people seem to be trying out a wide range of services, not necessarily just video streaming. According to Deloitte’s Digital Media Trends Survey, 14th edition, subscriptions have seen an increase of 11%, and audiobooks are up 8%. Notably, magazine subscripions are the worst off, with a net growth of just 1%.
13. PCs are the most popular devices for viewing content in Asia
The Conviva Q4 2020 report shows a very different landscape in Asia. PCs account for 47 percent of viewing time, while mobile accounts for 37 percent. Just three percent of watch time is on TVs.
14. Users subscribe to an average of 4 video streaming services
The Deloitte Digital Media Trends Study, 15th edition, found that subscribers in the US have accounts with an average of four streaming video services. This is up from three in the pre-COVID report. However, since the pandemic began, the average user has canceled a subscription and signed up for something new, indicating that people don’t mind shopping around for better content elsewhere.
Almost half (43 percent) of US consumers pay for TV as well as their streaming service subscriptions. This number is higher in Gen Xers as more than half (53 percent) pay for both TV and streaming services. The same study notes that having to deal with multiple services to access all the shows they want is frustrating for many users.
15. Time spent streaming increased by 58% before the coronavirus pandemic
Although streaming figures have risen sharply as a result of COVID-19, they were already on the rise. The Deloitte study reported that the amount of time people spent streaming in Q4 2019 increased by 58 percent compared to the previous year. Europe and the Americas drove this figure, with 64 percent and 63 percent increases, respectively. That said, a Nielsen study paints a slightly different picture, reporting that average streaming time increased 31 percent year-over-year in the US. It found that the average amount of time spent streaming was 38 minutes per day in Q4 2019 compared to 29 minutes per day during the last three months of 2018.
16. Access to original content is a top reason for subscribing
Deloitte found that one of the major reasons viewers pay for streaming services is to access movies and shows that aren’t available elsewhere. Across generations, 57 percent of users cited this as a top reason, but it’s especially important for millennials, 71 percent of whom stated it was a primary driving factor.
17. Too many ads are pushing viewers away from pay TV
Deloitte also reports that having to sit through too many advertisements is one of the reasons viewers are opting for streaming services. 44 percent of consumers cite an ad-free experience as being a top reason for using streaming services. Ads make up a whopping 20 minutes out of every hour of TV. 75 percent of viewers think this is massive overkill and 82 percent express frustration with having to see the same ads time and again. On average, consumers are okay with seven minutes of ads per hour but will stop watching if the number of ads reaches 14 minutes per hour, which shows a reduced tolerance for ads since the last study.
18. Hulu had the largest year-over-year growth in time spent on Android phones
According to App Annie’s State of Mobile Report 2020, Hulu was the number one service in the US in terms of growth in time spent on Android devices. Netflix saw the largest growth in other regions including the UK, Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, and South Korea. In China, the app that saw the largest growth in time spent on Android devices was Xigua Video, and in Japan, it was Amazon Prime Video.
19. Netflix was the ninth most downloaded app in 2019
The statistics in the App Annie report combine numbers from the iOS App Store and Google Play Store. The list of the top ten most downloaded apps mainly comprises social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, but Netflix made it in at ninth place, just ahead of Spotify. That said, when it comes to consumer app spend, Netflix came in at second place, only behind dating app Tinder. Tencent Video, iQIYI, and YouTube were in third, fourth, and fifth place, respectively.
20. Gen Z and Gen Y are twice as likely as Pre-boomers to binge-watch shows
A 2019 Canadian study by JD Power found that 55 percent of Gen Z and Gen Y respondents binge-watched shows, while only 24 percent of Pre-boomers said they do the same. Similarly, the younger generations are twice as likely to use their TV service provider’s streaming app than their older counterparts.
Music streaming statistics
Music streaming is now bigger than ever, with billions of dollars going into the music streaming industry every year. Most music fans are now using subscription-based streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music, but video services like YouTube are also massive sources for music fans. Here are some key stats that help show how the industry is progressing.
21. Music streams surpassed 1 trillion in 2019
The music streaming biz hit a huge milestone on November 25, 2019. This was when number of audio and video-on-demand music streams in the US since the start of the year hit the one trillion mark. By the end of the year, the number of streams reached 1.15 trillion, up from 887 billion in 2018. On-demand audio song streaming accounted for the majority (746 billion) of the 2019 streams, although video represented a large chunk (401 billion).
22. 89% of people across the globe listen to on-demand streams
According to a 2019 IFPI survey, video streams make up 47 percent of global music streaming, while 37 percent is paid audio streaming and 15 percent is free audio streaming. 23 percent of listeners admit to using an illegal stream-ripping service.
23. More than half of 35-64 year-olds streamed music in the past month
The use of streaming music services is increasing in older generations. IFPI found that 54 percent of those aged 35-64 had streamed music within the past month. This was up eight percent from the previous year. That said, it remains that music streaming is most popular among the younger generations with 83 percent of 16-24 year-olds and 75 percent of 25-34 year-olds taking advantage of audio streaming.
24. Instant access to songs is a top reason for streaming
62 percent of listeners appreciate the fact that they can get instant access to a ton of songs when using a streaming service. A similar portion (61 percent) like that they can listen to what they want, while 47 percent appreciate the convenience of streaming.
25. The UK has the largest percentage of streamers
A large portion of music listeners in many global markets are turning to streaming to get their fix. However, the popularity of streaming is most pronounced in the UK where 83 percent of music listeners streamed content within the past year. Figures are provided for other regions, including Japan (81 percent), Canada (79 percent), the US (76 percent), and Germany (71 percent).
26. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted an incerase in audio music streaming
According to Music Business Worldwide, there has been a 22.6% increase in time spend streaming music worldwide. This followed an 11% slump in mid-March, when much of the world went into some form of lockdown.
27. YouTube is the most-used music streaming globally
According to App Annie, YouTube Music saw a 980 percent growth in the number of active users between December 2017 and December 2019. For most markets, Spotify is in second place. However, Nielsen warns that Amazon Music is one to watch as it nudged ahead of Spotify in Japan and is hot on its tail in Germany and the UK.
28. Bad Bunny had 2020’s top-streamed album
Spotify’s annual review offers up a ton of information about the music streaming scene. For instance, it lets us know that Bad Bunny’s “YHLQMDLG” was streamed more than 3 billion times in 2020. In second place was The Weeknd, followed by last year’s most-streamed artist, Post Malone.
29. Drake rules as the most-streamed artist of the 2010s
Drake racked up a total of 36.3 billion on-demand streams over the course of the decade. Although Post Malone did well to come in at second place, he was way behind with 18.9 billion streams. Rounding out the top three was Eminem with 17.8 billion streams.
30. The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” was the most-consumed song of 2020
With 1.6 billion streams, this was by far the most popular stream of 2020 and one of the biggest of the 2010s. Other viral hits in 2020 included Tones and I’s “Dance Monkey” with 17 million streams and “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa, both of which were extremely popular on TikTok for a brief time .
31. More than half of US teens’ music time involves streaming
While the average music listener spends 41 percent of their music time streaming, the average for teens is a bit higher at 53 percent. When it comes to discovering new music, 31 percent of teens use social media as an introducer while 54 percent say that new technologies such as voice assistants and smart TV have made new music discovery easier.
32. R&B and Hip-Hop account for the largest portion of streams
This genre is by far the most popular with streamers, accounting for 31.2 percent of on-demand audio streams and 29.6 percent of on-demand video streams. The rock and pop genres are next, but rock listeners take a larger share of the audio stream market (17.1 percent versus pop’s 13.7 percent), whereas pop listeners make up a larger portion of the video market (15.5 percent compared to rock’s 10.2 percent).
33. Jazz fans are the least likely to stream music
Streaming makes up a large portion (61.2 percent) of Jazz music consumption, but this is lower than for any other genre. On the other hand, the listeners most likely to stream their music are R&B, Hip-hop, Dance, and Electronic music fans who consume 85.4% percent of their music via streams.
See also: Cord-cutting statistics 2020