10 Biggest Online Streaming Companies in the World

In this article, we take a look at the 10 biggest online streaming companies in the world. You can skip our detailed analysis of the online streaming industry and go directly to 5 Biggest Online Streaming Companies in the World

Prior to the internet commercialization, the streaming industry was virtually dominated by legacy media like the television and film industry. The legacy media dominance started getting challenged in what is called the advent of the new media, i.e online publication and streaming services that gradually started gaining steam after the internet was commercialized and picked up pace with the accelerated adoption of smartphones, tablets and high speed internet technologies.

One of the greatest advantages digital media offers relative to legacy media is more convenience. Streaming services like broadcast TV in legacy media do not respond as effectively to consumer demand as streaming services in digital/online media where you can watch the shows/movies you want to watch at the time of your own choosing. 

The adoption of online streaming services was accelerated during the pandemic where people adjusted to lock-downs by activities like gaming and binge-watching online shows. According to a report by Fortune Business Insights, the subscription rate for video on demand services like Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)’s Disney+ was up by 26% in 2020 with 230 million new subscriptions as compared to 2019. The same report finds that the online streaming industry is expected to be valued at $1.6 trillion by 2029 up from $473 billion in 2022. 

In this regard, there are many companies offering Video on Demand streaming services. Some of the most popular of these include Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), Amazon Prime by Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Disney+ by The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS). However, given the size of the streaming market, many companies have been capturing the market share. We’d be listing the 10 biggest online streaming companies in the world.

Photo by Ashley Byrd on Unsplash

Our Methodology 

For our list of the 10 biggest online streaming companies in the world, we’d be using the number of subscribers as the core metric for ranking. We’d be sourcing the number of subscribers from streaming services’ quarterly reports of 2022. 

We’d also be considering secondary metrics like revenue, number of views and streaming minutes on these platforms. With that said, let’s move down to the list of 10 biggest online streaming companies in the world. 

10. Apple TV+

Number of Subscribers: 20 Million (estimated)

AppleTV+ is owned and operated by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). It was launched in November 2019. Apple TV+ does not stream acquired series or films and provides only original television shows and production movies which the company calls Apple Originals. The most popular of its originals is called Ted Lasso, a show about an American football coach hired to manage a British football team. Owing to its parent company’s popularity and brand loyalty, Apple TV Plus has been competing with the biggest online streaming companies in the world. The first twenty episodes of Ted Lasso garnered 509 million views.

The streaming can be accessed through Apple TV, the media player which comes pre-installed in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) devices or can be accessed online via Apple TV’s web version. When it comes to pricing, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) charges a relative premium at $4.99 per month. However, it’s free for three months for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) users who access it via the pre-installed app.  

The streaming app is also included in the Apple One package which bundles up to five Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) services together at $14.95 per month. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) does not disclose the number of subscribers for its streaming service and therefore, nothing can be said certainly about the number of subscribers Apple TV+ has but estimates at The Observer suggest the number is around 20 million.

While Apple TV+ is owned by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and gaining in popularity, it is nowhere near the subscription levels of Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), Amazon Prime by Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Disney+ by The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS).

9. CuriosityStream Inc. (NASDAQ:CURI)

Number of Subscribers: 20 Million

CuriosityStream Inc. (NASDAQ:CURI) is one of the most distinctive streaming services on the list because of its focus in a narrow domain. It caters to a particular audience curious about science, technology and history in over 175 countries. It was launched by John S. Hendricks, the founder of Discovery Channel. 

The platform does not generate as much revenue as other streaming companies on the list because of its cheap subscription rates. It posted a revenue of $27 million in the fourth quarter of 2021. The relatively lesser revenue has to do with the service’s subscription plans, quantity of content and frequent discounts. Its standard plan starts at $2.99/month or $19.99/year which is often discounted at $11.99-$14.99 a year. 

The premium plan which offers 4K streaming starts at $9.99/month or $69.99/year. However, CuriosityStream Inc. (NASDAQ:CURI) plans to increase the prices to be able to grow and multiply the content. Some of its most popular documentaries include First Man and Space Probes, the former had a 90% approval based on 19,245 ratings while the latter had a 98% approval based on 26,996 ratings on the app. 

Unlike Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), Amazon Prime by Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Disney+ by The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), CuriosityStream Inc. (NASDAQ:CURI) does not cater to the general audience. 

8. Peacock

Number of Subscribers: 28 Million

Peacock is the streaming service owned and operated by NBCUniversal Media which in turn, is owned by the telecommunications company Comcast Corporation (NYSE:CMCSA). In their Q1 earnings report for 2022, Comcast Corporation (NYSE:CMCSA) noted an increase of subscribers for peacock streaming service up to 28 million from 24 million. 

The number of paid subscribers also increased up to 13 million from 9 million in the previous quarter suggesting fast growth for the service. Future trends for peacock look optimistic since NBC shows are set to move to peacock from Hulu. The business model at peacock is a freemium one. The streaming service of Comcast Corporation (NYSE:CMCSA) offers ads-based streaming service to non-paying members while an ad-free premium service costs $9.99 per month. 

Comcast Corporation (NYSE:CMCSA)’s Peacock airs both original as well as acquired series/shows. Some of its most popular original series include Save Me and We are Lady Parts while Two and Half Men and The Office are some of its most popular acquired series. It also airs entertainment-sports events from World Wrestling Federation (WWE).

7. Paramount+ 

Number of Subscribers: 39.6 Million

Paramount+ is an over-the-top streaming service owned by Paramount Streaming which is a division within Paramount Global (NASDAQ:PARA). One of its most notable original shows include Star Trek: Picard with Patrick Stewart making a return as Picard. 

The Star Trek show’s first two episodes had 9.6 million viewers logging in. Other than shows, Paramount Plus also offers news and live streaming of sports events. It generated a whopping $7.3 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2022. 

6. Hulu

Number of Subscribers: 45.3 Million

Hulu is another American streaming service majority-owned by The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS). Disney owns 67% of Hulu while the rest of the 33% is owned by Comcast Corporation (NYSE:CMCSA). The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) showed that Hulu’s subscribers had increased to 45.3 million up from 39.4 million in its earnings report in the first quarter of 2022. The report also showed Hulu making $12.96 per paying subscriber in the first quarter. 

The streaming service has been able to captivate the audience with originals like Shrill and Only Murders in the Building. Hulu has been gaining popularity with the audience aged 18-34 according to Nielsen’s findings which also showed that Hulu was the most popular when it comes to minutes streamed in May, 2022 at the average of 130 minutes, followed by YouTube, at the average of 128 and Netflix at 110 minutes. 

While streaming services like Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), Amazon Prime by Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Disney+ by The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) lead the industry, services like Hulu are growing faster to catch up. 

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Disclosure: none. 10 Biggest Online Streaming Companies in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.