It Seems No One Can Agree On Who Is Netflix's Real Competition

Netflix might be a leading force when it comes to video streaming services, but who its competition really is seems far less obvious.

That’s at least according to the latest findings from a new Kantar report.

The report looked at the video streaming market in twenty-two countries (including the U.S.) and found that in fifteen of those countries, Netflix holds the top spot as the most “commonly held” streaming service subscription.

Although that suggests Netflix is not quite as dominant in all the markets it operates in (or those surveyed), the number is enough to highlight the impact and consistency at which Netflix subscriptions are sold on a global scale.

However, when it came to the second-place spot, things suddenly become far more confusing.

For example, subscriptions from Amazon took the second-place spot six times, while subscriptions from Google on five other occasions. Even combined that puts two big global players at second-place in only half of the markets surveyed and still well below Netflix’s consistent hold on first-place. And that’s when the two are combined as on their own both Amazon and Google barely register in comparison.

Further emphasizing this point, the report stated “second place is just as likely to be held by a more local provider” as it is a global video streaming service.

It would seem this is also not just when Netflix is factored into the equation either but more representative of what it means to be second. For example, the report also found that a first-placed service (Netflix or otherwise) had a penetration of at least 25-percent in all but three of the twenty-two markets surveyed.

This compares to only three of the twenty-two markets where second-place also had a penetration level of 25-percent.

In other words, regardless of how dominant one service might be beyond the 25-percent level, that dominance alone is enough to ensure second-place services only gain minimal traction in the same region. It is in effect, an all-in industry where all services are effectively second place to the dominant service.

This suggestion holds some weight when taking account of some of the other findings in the same report, such as the number of streaming video subscriptions held.

Kantar found that 44-percent (low on its own) of those who pay for a streaming service, typically have more than one video subscription.

However, the number dropped down to only eighteen-percent for those with three subscriptions and then dropped down to seven-percent for those with four (or more) subsciptions.

The suggestion here is if one service is dominant and therefore subscribed to by a large percentage of a market, the ability for any service to be that second-choice subscription is reduced dramatically.

What’s more, with only eighteen-percent of those said to be holding more than two subscriptions, if a service is not already one of those two, it seems even less likely it will be able to gain any meaningful share of an individual's subscription pie.

Of course, this may just be a sign of the times today and not necessarily tomorrow as the market does seem to be moving to a subscription model in general, and in many parts of the world. Therefore consumers are more likely to find themselves in the future position where they need to subscribe to more than two or three subscriptions in order to retain a similar level of content.

However, the findings, if accurate do also clearly highlight the struggles streaming services are facing and will continue to face in cementing a position within a given market. Something that’s made all the worse in regions where Netflix already dominates.

This may also become more of an issue for most current streaming services if Disney’s new + service arrives with the bang many now expect it will.

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About the Author
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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]