Newsletter 25th of November: 2020: Tipping Point for US Streaming


25 November 2020

The Annus Horribilis 2020 – certainly not only for the media industry – is soon coming to an end. We thought this might be a good time to list some of the media events with most impact. To start, we turn to the West and the US streaming landscape. 

Looking back at 2020, we dare pinpoint Disney+ as one of the major market disruptors. It launched in November 2019 and the timing could probably not have been better; massive lockdowns paired with a huge demand for “home entertainment” made Disney+ the winner this year. As of October 3rd, the service had amassed a subscriber base of close to 74 million globally – virtually crushing all initial estimates of 60-90 million subscribers by 2024. The outcome here in the Nordics has been just as successful, with a +10% average household penetration just weeks after the launch in September.

But other players have also presented solid growth in the US this year. Hulu, owned by Disney, saw a +27% growth in SVOD subscribers in Q3 YOY. Netflix reported a subscriber growth of 23% in Q3 (YOY), amounting to a total of 195 million paying subs of which 73 million in the US (37%). However, the service fell short of its Q3 target. In the Nordics, Mediavision has noted a somewhat slower growth than previously during 2020.

On May 27th, AT&T-owned HBO Max launched in the US – with a lineup of many of its’ major rights earlier withdrawn from various competitors (e g “Friends” from Netflix). This contributed to an extensive library already from Day 1. However, the achievements so far have not been all bright. In its Q3 earnings report, AT&T stated that in total, 28.7 million customers were eligible to stream HBO Max by the end of the quarter. But only 8.6 million customers had activated their subscriptions – possibly a cause for concern for the telco (subscribers to HBO can access HBO Max as part of their package).

Next in line, Comcast, launched its new streamer Peacock on July 15th. So far (Q3), the service has attracted nearly 22 million subscribers – “exceeding every internal engagement metric without the benefit of the Olympics or content like The Office (coming in January 2021)” according to Comcast. Domestic streaming for Comcast (CBS All Access and Showtime) grew 72% YOY in Q3.

And there is still some time for new initiatives: On December 2nd, Discovery is expected to reveal further details of its global streaming service and the strategy behind it, including a direct-to-consumer product in the US and “enhancements” of the SVOD services in international markets.

But there are market failures as well. Maybe the most well-known is Quibi. After attracting only 450 000 subscribers, the service will be shut down in December.

The US is expected to see continued online video growth despite clear signs of market maturity. Analysts have forecasted that SVOD subscriptions will reach 317 million by 2025, up from 203 million at the end of 2019 (i.e +8% CAGR). Hence, the streaming market is bursting with opportunity – but also in a state of heavy competition – the consumer is the winner so far.

Industry News

NENT Studios UK Searching for New Owner

The London based production unit of Nordic Entertainment Group NENT Studios UK has been put up for sale. NENT is divesting several production businesses in order to focus on the growth and international expansion of Viaplay.

Wonder Woman 1984 Gets HBO Max Release

WarnerMedia has announced that its next major title Wonder Woman 1984 will launch in theatres and on SVOD service HBO Max simultaneously in Dec. The film will be available on HBO Max for one month from Dec 25, after which it will exclusively play in theatres.

Netflix Invests $1 Billion in ABQ Studios

Netflix is committing $1 billion to its ABQ Studios in Albuquerque. The funds will be used to add 300 acres to the existing space. The company predicts that 1000 new jobs will be created over the next 10 years.

Disney Considering More Disney+ Premieres

Following the uncertain future of the theatrical marketplace, Disney is reportedly considering Disney+ premieres of several upcoming tentpole family films, including Cruella, Pinocchio and Peter Pan and Wendy.

Snapchat Launches TikTok-competitor In-App

A new section, called Spotlight, has launched on Snapchat, in a defensive move to fend of competition from TikTok. The service will also pay creators to post viral content on the platform.

SF Studios and Netflix enter New Partnership

In a deal becoming effective in 2021, Netflix’s Nordic subscribers will be given access to SF Studio’s local and international distribution titles after their theatrical releases and being available for rent or purchase via for ex SF Anytime.

European Court Rules Against TV2 Denmark

TV 2 Denmark faces a potential fine of approximately 3 billion DKK, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice related to the state financial support that TV 2 received between 1995-2002.

Mediavision in the News

Report: Nordics willing to pay for podcasts?

Digital audio is booming, and podcast listening hugely popular right now in the Nordics, reports Mediavision. Payment rates for podcasts, however, are still low compared to other streaming services.

Viaplay står inför massiv expansion – här är planen

Inom fem år ska Viaplay ha 10,5 miljoner abonnenter, vilket är mer än en fördubbling jämfört med dagens knappt 3 miljoner abonnenter.

Sport a third of Nordic pay-TV revenues

The market for Nordic TV sports rights has been dynamic all through 2020, with several major rights being out for tender, reports Mediavision. This week, ice hockey and the Bundesliga have been the centre of attention.

Poddindustrin exploderar – men de stora intäkterna saknas

Poddar är mycket mer än en kändisduo som snackar med varandra. Dramaserier, gameshows och spinoffs på böcker är nya format under utveckling.

Netflix slips but Swedish SVOD hits new high

During the past year, Swedish households have purchased an additional 700, 000 new SVOD-subscriptions and this has led to the paid video services market in the third quarter of 2020 reaching a new record level with strong growth…

Swedes add 700,000 SVOD subscriptions, Netflix with loss for the first time

Swedish households purchased an additional 700,000 new SVOD-subscriptions during the past year.

Netflix drops subs in increasingly competitive Sweden

Despite adding an extra 2.2 million subscribers globally in the most recent quarter, Netflix has actually lost users in Sweden for the first time in almost a decade.

Swedish SVoD subscriptions rise 700,000 year on year in Q3 amid stacking, Netflix loses customers

Swedish new SVoD subscriptions have risen by 700,000 in the year ending 30 September 2020, said consultancy Mediavision.

Swedish SVOD Subs Reach New Record Level

During the last year, Swedish households have purchased an additional 700,000 new SVOD subscriptions, though Netflix lost subs for the first time since its launch in the country.

Netflix tappar mark i Sverige samtidigt som marknaden växer

Svenska hushåll tecknade ytterligare 700 000 strömningsabonnemang under det tredje kvartalet och betalda videotjänster nådde därmed en ny rekordnivå.

Första kundtapp för Netflix i Sverige

De svenska hushållen har under det senaste året köpt ytterligare 700.000 nya så kallade SVOD-abonnemang (streamad video), men vad gäller Netflix har antalet användare i Sverige minskat, enligt analysföretaget Mediavision.

Industry Events

CTAM Europe Executive Management Programme: 6-11 June 2021, Fontainebleau, France
MWC Shanghai: 23-25 February 2021, Shanghai, China
MWC Barcelona: 28 June – 1 July 2021, Barcelona, Spain

*Mediavision will attend
**Mediavision will present