Netflix Heads Digital Video Services List, But There Are Questions

By Steve Safran Comment

NetflixYou would probably guess right if you were asked “What are the top three digital video subscription services?” They are 1. Netflix 2. Amazon Video and 3. Hulu. No surprises there. But what about number four? According to Parks Associates, that goes to MLB.tv, baseball’s digital video offering. And the rest of the top ten list gets pretty interesting.

This is part of the OTT world, something you’ll be reading a lot about here at Lost Remote. For the uninitiated, OTT means “Over The Top,” and refers to any service that bypasses a cable box – by using Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and other devices. Some TVs even have OTT capabilities built in. This, I realize, is a simplified explanation. But I want everyone to get the point. Here’s Wikipedia’s expended definition.

Parks Associates list of the Top Ten U.S. Subscription OTT Video Services is:
1. Netflix
2. Amazon Video (Amazon Prime)
3. Hulu
4. MLB.TV
5. WWE Network
6. Sling TV
7. HBO Now
8. Crunchyroll
9. Showtime
10. CBS All Access

The OTT space is growing, fast, reports Parks Associates:

“Importantly, all of these services have increased their subscriber base over the past year. The top five OTT services have stayed consistent, primarily through maintaining or growing the massive user and subscriber bases that they have built over the past several years,” said Brett Sappington, Senior Director of Research, Parks Associates.

Dan Rayburn

Dan Rayburn

However, Dan Rayburn, EVP of StreamingMedia.com, wonders about the methodology of this report. Specifically, he disputes Parks Associates’ subscription numbers.

“CBS put out public numbers in July on how many subs they have,” Rayburn wrote in an email interview with Lost Remote. “All Access and Showtime subscription services have two million total subscribers, with user bases evenly split between the two. In March, Time Warner said HBO Now had one million subs, up from 800,000 in December, 2015.”

“What data does Parks have to show Sling TV is above one million?” Rayburn wrote. “Because when you talk to people inside Sling TV, who don’t want to be quoted, the number is well less than one million. In its Q2 2016 results, Dish Network reported a decline of 281,000 in net Pay-TV subscribers, a number which includes Sling TV.

If Rayburn’s numbers are right, that would have a big impact on the list.

As OTT moves forward, the question of subscription numbers is going to be tricky. There’s no “Nielsen of OTT” where services are independently audited. Netflix famously keeps its numbers of viewers for its shows private. While the Parks Associates list likely does have the top ten contenders, sorting out their exact order isn’t as straightforward as it seems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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