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I stream, you stream, we all stream...heaps

Updated: May 4, 2021

With a finite amount of eyeballs and time in the day, streaming platforms continue to expand and evolve in the increasingly competitive fight for slices of the same very profitable pie. But who's winning and how are the streaming wars evolving?


Unsurprisingly, without a heap of other stuff to do 2020 was a year that saw a huge increase in streaming numbers. Roy Morgan found that here in Australia 82.1% of us watched a streaming service in an average 4 weeks in 2020 - up 16.2% from a year prior. While Netflix kicked things off competition has heated up in the past few years; currently, in the USA the 4 is the average number of different streaming platforms a streaming consumer is signed up to.

Image Source: Sayan Ghosh on Unsplash


Netflix is synonymous with video streaming, and to put it simply it continues to dominate. In the first half of 2020 Netflix added 37 million new subscribers globally. Here in Aus it also outpaces the rest - with over two-thirds of Australians over 14yrs on the platform - up a significant 19% YoY. The brand is continuing to go hard in an attempt to maintain momentum, after recent success stories like The Queen's Gambit, Bridgerton and Lupin, Netflix plans to invest $17bn in new content for 2021. For context they spent around $11.8bn in 2020 and $13.9bn in 2019.

To get some perspective of how well the brand is doing next to key competitors, look at the chart below:


Platforms are trialling, sometimes failing new approaches to streaming. Quibi - a short-form streaming platform launched last year - hoping to play into the time poor viewer. With big names and even a couple of Emmy awards under its belt the platform announced that it would be shutting down a short six months later. Having picked possibly the most unfortunate timing imaginable, the attempt still hints at a continued evolution and expansion of entertainment streaming options.

While streaming really blossomed the concept of the entertainment "binge", and one of the newest rivals is even called 'Binge' - platforms are still looking at the best possible way to distribute or 'dump' content. Netflix announced in March that two of it's non-scripted competition shows (The Circle and Too Hot to Handle) will be released on a weekly group drop schedule rather than all at once. "There is still something about that collective experience where people want to watch TV together and be part of a cultural conversation,” explained Julie DeTraglia Hulu VP/head of research and insights.


Whilst the older generations (Boomers, Gen X and Millennials) favour TV and movie content when at home, this slips way down the list for Gen Z. As researched by Deloitte and pictured below you can see quite how differently the age group wants to spend their time - favouring gaming, music and even just 'browsing the internet' (oh no) over watching TV and movies:

Whether or not this will change with age or an entirely new option is yet to be seen. What remains true for now is that the streaming wars show no sign of slowing down.

Zara Cooper


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