OTT Versus Linear Video is Becoming a Global Battlefield
By now, nobody is surprised to hear that linear video subscriptions continue to drop or that over the top subscriptions are growing. Perhaps the bigger story is the globalization of the business. Netflix now is a global content supplier, while most other providers operate mostly in a single country, or a small number of countries.
So while it still makes sense to track how U.S. service providers are doing, compared to U.S. competitors, the battle has become global, and Netflix arguably is the leader, in that regard.
In aggregate, there are more U.S. paid streaming accounts than linear accounts in service.
Netflix has some 55 million U.S. accounts, while Amazon Prime has some 90 million subscribers. All the largest linear video providers together have about 92.2 million accounts.
Total revenue is another story, as monthly subscription revenue earned by a linear account can be an order of magnitude greater than the revenue from any single OTT streaming account.
In 2017, for example, the major U.S. providers lost about 1.5 million accounts, up from some 760,000 in 2016, according to Leichtman Research Group.
The big swing was that streaming services owned by the linear providers gained 1.5 million accounts, nearly the amount lost by the two satellite services.
The biggest six cable companies now have about 48.1 million video accounts. Satellite TV services claim 31.5 million subscribers (including DirecTV, owned by AT&T).
The largest three fixed network telephone providers have 9.2 million subscribers (nearly all provided by AT&T and Verizon).
The top OTT services have about 3.4 million subscribers.
End of 4Q 2017
Net Adds in
Other major private companies**
Total Top Cable
Satellite Services (DBS)
Total Top Phone
Total Top Internet-Delivered
Total Top Providers