Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Worldwide Streaming Video Subscriptions Top 1 Billion

By Eric Volkman - Updated Mar 18, 2021 at 8:47PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

That 2020 figure represents growth of 26% from the previous year.

Streaming video services, the popularity of which was snowballing even before the coronavirus pandemic, have taken over the world. Data published by the Motion Picture Association of America on Thursday reveal that the total number of subscribers for such services hit 1.1 billion in 2020. That was a 26% increase over the previous year.

Americans in particular were eager streamers. Subscriptions to such services increased at a 32% clip to reach almost 309 million in total.

A remote control unit aimed at a TV.

Image source: Getty Images.

The pandemic, of course, was a key factor. Movie theaters pack crowds of people tightly together in an enclosed space, so for obvious reasons many of them were shuttered during the outbreak.

Undaunted, movie studios mass-released a number of their offerings -- including their summer "tentpoles" -- through such services. Walt Disney, for instance, premiered the latest offering from its Pixar animation unit, Soul, on the Disney+ platform.

Those classic movie studios, meanwhile, are of course facing stiff competition from the likes of relative newcomers like Netflix (NFLX 2.17%). Stealing a page from Hollywood, Netflix has doubled down on original film content, spending lavish amounts of money to attract directing and acting talent for high-budget films.

That approach is clearly resonating with consumers, as Netflix recently crossed the 200 million global subscriptions threshold while collecting an impressive number of Academy Award nominations.

Even as the pandemic fades away, we can expect continued growth, although it might not be as robust as in stay-at-home times. ViacomCBS' Paramount+ service has launched to much fanfare, and Comcast's newish Peacock is bulking up with content like World Wrestling Entertainment's big library of wrestling matches and events.

Streamer stocks were generally downers on Thursday, though, with Netflix falling 3.8% and Disney shedding 1.5%. The S&P 500 closed the day 1.5% lower.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Netflix, Inc. Stock Quote
Netflix, Inc.
NFLX
$190.56 (2.17%) $4.05
The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
DIS
$108.64 (3.29%) $3.46
Comcast Corporation Stock Quote
Comcast Corporation
CMCSA
$42.84 (2.32%) $0.97
Paramount Global Stock Quote
Paramount Global
PARA
$32.32 (15.35%) $4.30
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Stock Quote
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.
WWE
$59.88 (3.17%) $1.84

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
338%
 
S&P 500 Returns
119%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/17/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.