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Global Streaming Options and Trends

The advent of streaming services has led to a revolution in the way consumers around the world view film and television content. Netflix is now one of the most popular global platforms, boasting more than 220 million subscribers. In July, new Nielsen data further revealed that American households logged 34.8% of their total TV consumption time on streaming platforms—also led by Netflix—while cable and broadcast amassed 34.4% and 21.6% consumption time, respectively. From Europe to Australia to North America, here’s the latest on where we stand with streaming.

The UK and Germany
The numbers speak for themselves in the United Kingdom, where nine out of 10 people have used a streaming platform in the last 12 months (as of August 2022). What’s more, 58% of all British homes subscribe to at least one online streaming platform, a figure that rose 5% since 2020. As in many other countries, Netflix remains the most popular option, with 62% of UK residents having watched programming on that platform in the last 12 months. Netflix users increased by 15% since 2019, but Amazon Prime comes in at a close second, having enjoyed a 20% increase since 2019. Roughly 48% of UK residents now stream that service, which offers a variety of original films and shows available to rent or buy. Though Disney Plus only launched in the UK in 2019, it’s already skyrocketed to popularity among British audiences, now used by 33% of residents in the last 12 months. More women use streaming services than men—93% compared to 83%—and Gen Z is the unsurprising leader of the UK streaming charge, with a whopping 99% of this demographic having used a platform in the last year.

In Germany, free ad-supported (AVOD) streaming services are among the most popular options, with three out of four consumers turning to them since 2021. Big companies like YouTube and Facebook attract large numbers of viewers, but services offered by German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF have likewise amassed a following of 40% and 42% consumers, respectively. In early August, Amazon entered the game by launching its own AVOD platform, called Freevee. First offered in the US and UK, Germany is the third country to receive access to this site (formerly called IMDbTV), with Austria soon to follow.  “We are offering users a service that they would typically expect to find behind a paywall,” said a Freevee rep. In other large launch news, German TV giant RTL Group debuted its own streaming service a few weeks later, billing the platform as the first of its kind. Called RTL Plus Musik, it offers films, television shows, news content and a music platform comprising up to 100 radio channels.

The Australian streaming market has exploded in the last few years, offering residents more entertainment options than ever before—while simultaneously cracking down on illegal file-sharing sites like BitTorrent, Popcorn Time and Potluck. Netflix ranks as Australia’s top streaming service (surprise, surprise!), beloved by consumers for its high-quality viewing experience that’s largely free of buffering problems. While the Aussie library may have felt slightly sparse at launch compared to its US counterpart, a number of original TV shows have been added in recent years, along with reality programs and binge-worthy documentaries. Competing with the king of streamers is Stan, Australia’s first major original platform that debuted five years ago. Along with exclusive top-tier programming, it offers critically acclaimed films like The True Story of the Kelly Gang and Relic. Disney Plus is likewise popular with Australian families, entering the market with a solid content mix that included Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel and National Geographic offerings. Additional services specific to Australia include Kanopy, SBS on Demand and ABC iview, among others.

United States and Canada
As Netflix prepares to launch its much-talked about AVOD tier this November, the entertainment and advertising industries are likewise concluding that this may be the winning business model moving forward. The new service will be available soon in the UK, Germany, and Australia as well as the U.S. and Canada. A joint report from Screen Engine/ASI and FilmRise streaming network points out that only one in five consumers will add an additional SVOD service to their homes in the coming year, while 79% plan to maintain or even reduce their current subscriptions. AVOD viewers, on the other hand, have grown from 60 million in 2018 to an estimated 140 million this year, according to eMarketer, while AVOD viewing time ranks at 46% compared to the 29% share of time spent watching SVOD. This is excellent news for marketers.

In the US, free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) services are the current hot commodity, ranging from media giants like Peacock, Tubi and Pluto to hardware vendors such as Freevee, Roku Channel and Samsung TV. Independent offerings (Plex, Kanopy, Hoopla) have also sprung up, with more in the works. Case in point: Google’s Android TV and Warner Bros. Discovery both have plans to launch their own FAST service. Consumers love the friendly price points of FAST options, combined with their general availability. Due to their distribution methods—smart TVs, connected TVs and other means—FAST services tend to have higher penetration. The downside? Most offer the same mix of classic television series and older films, leading to some inescapable content overlap.

Content in Canada can be found on several top streaming sites, including Paramount Plus Canada, which rebranded in 2021 after launching as CBS All Access. Here, Canadians access favorite TV shows ranging from reality programming like NCIS and Survivor to kid-friendly options such as George of the Jungle or Max & Ruby. DAZN is the site for all things sports, including Major League Baseball (MLB), ICC Cricket, Europa League for soccer and more. CuriosityStream was created by John Hendricks, founder of the Discovery Channel, and bills itself as the place for those seeking a break from sitcoms and movies—think programs like Walking with Dinosaurs and Wonders of the Solar System. Hayu (for reality TV), Shudder (promising the best in horror, thrillers and suspense) and the Criterion Channel (beloved by cinephiles) further round out streaming offerings in Canada. We’ll continue monitoring all streaming trends to provide you with the latest updates, especially as holiday viewing kicks into gear!

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