This year, 181.0 million people in the US will watch video via an app or website that provides streaming content over the internet and bypasses traditional distribution, according to eMarketer’s first-ever forecast of over-the-top (OTT) video viewership.
The forecast includes viewers of services like Hulu, Netflix and Youtube, and estimates that at this point, the population is already growing slowly. Nearly nine in 10 digital video viewers in the US already watch video content this way.
That’s largely because one provider of OTT video services is YouTube, which is already used by virtually all OTT video viewers. The YouTube audience will reach 170.7 million monthly video viewers this year, eMarketer estimates, or 94.3% of OTT video service users. Other services have lower penetration and much faster growth.
Netflix, for example, will grow its US audience by more than 20% this year to 114.3 million, or 63.2% of OTT viewers. Netflix will continue to penetrate the OTT video market, and will reach 71.7% of this audience by 2019.
Hulu has a smaller audience, but it will overtake Netflix’s growth rate again next year, reaching 82.2 million people by 2019.
Amazon’s video streaming service is larger than Hulu’s and will reach 88.6 million OTT video viewers by the end of our forecast period.
OTT video viewing is not limited to consumers with a smart TV or other internet-connected TV setup, but can occur directly on PCs and other internet-connected devices. eMarketer estimates that the connected TV audience will reach 140.5 million this year, with the largest share of connected TV users still getting online via a game console (36.8%).