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The streaming wars go global

For now, Netflix’s viewership is the only sub OTT audience we are able to estimate on a worldwide scale. However, we are slowly building out our projections for two of Netflix’s primary international rivals—Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video—and we can now make some useful comparisons across various markets. We believe Netflix remains the most watched service in the world, but it is not alone at the peak.

Note that our projections are not akin to the various companies’ self-reported subscriber numbers. Our figures try to account for all the viewers in a household—or wider population—who watch content on one of these services at least once per month via any given access point. Once we account for large families, group viewing, and rampant password-sharing, viewership totals can end up nearly triple the number of formally paid subscriptions. 

Our goal is to determine for marketers how many pairs of eyeballs are tuning in, regardless of who’s paying and who isn’t: By this measure, Netflix will have an impressive 682.7 million viewers next year. That’s about a third of all the sub OTT users in the world, and almost 15% of all internet users. 

On a country-by-country basis, the battle for consumer attention is shaping up to be fierce. We have Netflix viewer estimates for every region in the world, including breakouts for more than a dozen countries. We don’t have this much detail for its competitors yet, but we do have forecasts for Amazon Prime Video in eight countries.

Comparing the two giants side by side shows that Amazon is more than holding its own. In India, Germany, and Japan, Prime Video will have more viewers than Netflix in 2023. 

Prime Video trails Netflix in the US, where stalwart Hulu also commands a huge audience. Hulu does not operate outside of the US, which changes the dynamics of the competition internationally. Disney+, the only other provider with more than 100 million viewers in the US, is emerging as the primary challenger to Netflix and Amazon globally. 

In at least one important country, Disney+ is already the market leader—and that’s India. Thanks to its acquisition of Hotstar, Disney+ in India (officially called Disney+ Hotstar as of 2020) will reach 56.5% of the country’s sub OTT viewers in 2023. That’s only 10.6% of the population, however, so there is plenty of room for growth.