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Netflix Users Look to Amazon Instant Video and Hulu to Fill Content Gaps

TV viewers increasingly subscribe to all three on-demand video providers

August 3, 2017 | Advertising & Marketing | Video

Netflix is still top dog among subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) providers, but Amazon and Hulu still play important roles in the space.

Hub Research polled US TV viewers ages 16 to 74 who subscribed to SVOD services and watched 5 hours of TV per week. It found that Hulu’s penetration rate among respondents reached 22% in 2017, nearly double the rate from last year. Amazon Prime Video’s rate grew by 12 percentage points to 36% over the same time period.

US TV Viewers Who Subscribe to Subscription Video-on-Demand (SVOD) Services, by Platform, 2016 & 2017 (% of respondents)

Netflix is still growing as well, although at a slower clip. Sixty-one percent of respondents subscribed to Netflix this year, vs. 57% in 2016.

eMarketer predicts Netflix’s growth trajectory will continue, estimating that the service will have almost 142 million US viewers in 2021, representing 67.5% of over-the-top (OTT) video service users. By then, Amazon will reach 47.2% of OTT video service users (nearly 99 million video viewers), while Hulu will reach 18.9% (39.5 million viewers), eMarketer estimates.

But Netflix’s dominance does not necessarily spell disaster for other platforms. Rather, viewers are increasingly signing up for all of them. This year, 14% of respondents subscribed to all three, compared with just 6% in 2016, according to Hub Research.

Viewers are adding Amazon Prime Video and Hulu in addition to their Netflix subscriptions for different reasons, but many cite the need to access content that isn’t available on Netflix.

Forty-five percent of Netflix users said they added a Hulu subscription for greater selection, while 33% of Netflix users said they added an Amazon Prime Video subscription for the same reason, Hub Research found.

As far as specific content goes, TV shows not available on Netflix were the most likely reason for Netflix users to sign up for Hulu. More than half of respondents said they subscribed to Hulu to watch specific shows, compared with 28% who turned to Amazon.

On the other hand, movies missing from Netflix were more likely to draw users to Amazon. Almost one-third of those surveyed said they added an Amazon Prime video subscription to watch movies that Netflix didn’t have, compared with 23% who subscribed to Hulu for that reason.

Among millennials, Netflix trails live TV as their default source—but just barely, according to Hub Research. Thirty-five percent of respondents ages 18 to 34 said they consider live TV their go-to source, compared with 32% who selected Netflix. Live TV still leads significantly among older viewers.

Maria Minsker

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