Based by subscriber numbers, the researcher found that the top ten comprised Netflix, Amazon Video (Amazon Prime), Hulu (SVOD), MLB.TV, HBO Now, Starz, YouTube Red, Showtime, CBS All Access and Sling TV. Of most note is the velocity that the skinny bundles have gained in a short space of time. In addition the HBO Now service has made particular progress.
Parks also noted that YouTube Red entered the top ten list during the past year, and the OTT services for premium channels Showtime and Starz moved up or entered the list. Skinny service Sling TV has maintained its strong growth from 2016, and MLB and WWE continue to lead in sports-related subscription OTT video services, with WWE sitting just outside the top ten.
“While the top three are no surprise, the big story over the past year has been the rapid subscriber growth for OTT video services from HBO, Showtime, and Starz,” said the Subscription Over-The-Top (OTT) Video Services In The US Market report author and Parks Associates senior director of research, Brett Sappington. “The combination of recognised brands and popular original content is driving demand for their offerings. Services such as Sling TV and Crunchyroll are still enjoying strong growth, but other services have simply grown at a faster rate over the past year.”
The research also found that online pay-TV services were also growing quickly, fueled by advertising campaigns across the US. “YouTube TV's advertising and sponsorship deal with MLB during the recent World Series is just one example of the marketing dollars behind these service offerings,” Sappington added. “While more online pay-TV services could enter the top ten within the next year, those services that comprise the top ten are recognised brands that are aggressively working to expand their subscriber bases. Displacing them will be a difficult task."
Looking to future trends Parks Associates noted that operators and OTT video services were working together in promotions, OTT service distribution and bundling, integration into the set-top box, zero-rating of video in data services and billing. OTT services were also partnering with each other for distribution and bundling, service promotion, improved brand awareness and content licensing.
“Consumers have a variety of choices and are increasingly self-aggregating multiple OTT video services,” the analyst concluded. “As a result, partnerships within the OTT space are becoming more common, as operators, content owners, and OTT service providers all look to gain an edge in attracting subscribers and generating buzz for their offerings.”