TV & Streaming

How the streamers are stacking up, mid-2024 edition

Price hikes and password crackdowns continue, and some streamers continue to move toward profitability.
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Anna Kim

6 min read

Folks still using their exes’ Disney+ passwords, it’s (almost) over: Starting this summer and rolling out globally this September, Disney will officially begin cracking down on password sharing, CEO Bob Iger said on the company’s most recent earnings call.

Disney is not the only one bringing the hammer down. Netflix also plans to expand its paid sharing efforts, the company’s own answer to widespread password sharing across households, CFO Spence Neumann said on the streamer’s earnings call last month.

The major streamers on the market are at different levels of maturity, but they’re responding to similar market pressures and industry trends. Now that earnings season has wrapped, here’s the rundown of how streamers stacked up:

Netflix numbers: The streamer now counts nearly 270 million global paid subscribers, according to its letter to shareholders. Its ad tier is also continuing to grow: membership of Netflix with Ads, which had around 23 million subscribers in January, grew 65% quarter over quarter, and more than 40% of signups in its ads markets were for the ad tier, according to its earnings release. After price hikes, Netflix is also making more money per subscriber in the United States and Canada, with average revenue per membership hitting $17.30, compared to $16.64 in the previous quarter.

  • However, this is one of the last times Netflix will break out average revenue per membership. Starting in 2025, it will no longer report quarterly membership numbers and average revenue per membership partly as a result of differing price points across its global offerings, the company said.
  • Other orders of business for the streamer include increased investment in live programming, including a boxing match between Jake Paul and Mike Tyson, WWE Raw beginning next year, and its Netflix is a Joke comedy festival, co-CEO Ted Sarandos said on the earnings call.

Feather-light: The NBCUniversal-owned streamer continues to narrow its losses, dropping to $639 million in the first quarter compared to $704 million in the prior-year period. The streamer counted 34 million paid subscribers at the end of March, up 12 million year over year, Comcast president Mike Cavanagh said on Comcast’s earnings call, and average revenue per user (ARPU) came in at $10, while revenue reached $1.1 billion in the quarter.

  • Like Netflix, the streamer is leaning into live sports. An NFL wild-card game that was available exclusively on the streamer in January “added, and then retained, even more new Peacock subscribers than we expected,” Cavanagh told investors. After streaming the Paris Olympics, which has netted at least $1.2 billion in ad sales, Peacock will exclusively stream the NFL Week 1 Eagles-Packers game live from São Paulo, Brazil.
  • Ahead of the Olympic games, Peacock is also raising prices for the second time in two years. In mid-July, the price of a Peacock subscription will increase by $2 a month, with ad-supported Peacock Premium coming in at $7.99/month and ad-free Peacock Premium Plus increasing to $13.99/month.

Paramount+ punch-up: While parent company Paramount is currently in the middle of a closely watched acquisition battle and recently parted ways with CEO Bob Bakish, Paramount+, the company’s three-year-old streamer, now counts more than 71 million subscribers, with 3.7 million net additions in Q1. Like Peacock, it has further stemmed its losses this quarter, reporting a loss of $286 million in the quarter, down from $511 million in Q1 2023. Meanwhile, revenue from Paramount+ hit $7.7 billion, and global ARPU grew 26% year over year, the company reported.

  • Paramount+ rolled out an ad-tier plan in Canada in April, and will debut a similar option in Australia in June.
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Mouse House momentum: Disney+ had close to 118 million core subscribers at the end of March, with 22.5 million subscribers watching on its ad tier, according to the company’s Q2 earnings. ESPN+ had 24.8 million paid subscribers, a 2% drop from the previous quarter, while Hulu’s subscriber count stayed almost flat quarter over quarter, with 45.8 million subscribers at the end of March. The three services lost a combined $18 million in the quarter, a notable improvement from the same period last year, when they collectively lost $659 million.

Overall, Disney’s entertainment DTC business posted a profit for the first time ever. ARPU for core Disney+ subscribers was up 6% to $7.28, from $6.84 the prior quarter.

Ready for prime time: Amazon Prime Video counts 200 million monthly viewers, according to a recent letter to shareholders, and 85% of its users are on its ad tier, according to recent research from Hub Media Entertainment

  • Like a few of the other streamers, Amazon is snapping up live sports rights left and right: This year, it has struck deals to stream some NHL games in Canada, and it recently reached a deal with the NBA to air the league’s mid-season and play-in tournaments.
  • Ahead of the upfronts, Prime Video rolled out shoppable ad formats, including carousel ads, pause ads, and trivia ads.

To the max: Warner Bros. Discovery streamer Max posted a global streaming subscriber count of 99.6 million paid streaming subscribers in March, up from 97.7 million at the end of 2023, according to its Q1 earnings release. WBD’s DTC unit, which includes Max, brought in $86 million in the quarter, up from $50 million a year ago. Global DTC ARPU hit $7.83, up 4% compared to the prior year quarter, according to its earnings release.

  • Max is also leaning into live sports. WBD already has rights deals with MLB, the NHL, the NBA, and the NCAA, and in October, Max introduced a Bleacher Report live sports add-on package. WBD, whose network TNT reportedly stands to lose the rights to the NBA to NBC, is “hopeful” it will strike a new rights deal with the league, CEO David Zaslav told investors, and at upfronts, Luis Silberwasser, chairman and CEO of TNT Sports, told advertisers that WBD wants to reach an agreement “that makes sense for all the parties.”

The loneliest number: Besides cracking down on password sharing and leaning into live sports, streamers are also bundling up. Warner Bros. Discovery, Fox, and Disney are all poised to debut Venu Sports, a joint sports-streaming venture, this fall, while Max, Hulu, and Disney+ are rolling out a joint streaming bundle, the companies announced in early May. Over at Comcast, Netflix, Apple TV+, and Peacock will be bundled as part of an offering for Comcast customers.

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