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Global Streaming Subscriptions Pass 1 Billion


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Global streaming service subscriptions have passed one billion in total, according to new data released by the Motion Picture Association. The milestone was certainly helped in part by the mass theater closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but the numbers are also indicative of a broader trend towards digital content consumption in the industry. The past two years have seen some major players like Disney and Warner Bros. enter the streaming marketplace with platforms of their own, sparking a big uptick in total subscribers that isn’t likely to subside any time soon.

Just a few years ago, the streaming landscape was relatively bare. Netflix ruled as the undisputed sovereign of the industry, with Hulu and Amazon carving out their own spots as well. Since 2019, that once-sparse landscape has exploded with numerous new additions, from NBC’s Peacock and Disney+ to HBO Max and ViacomCBS’s Paramount+. Even the names of the different services have become more uniform over time, marking streaming’s transition from an ancillary media platform to the dominant one in many ways.

Per The Wrap, the Motion Picture Association’s annual THEME report has marked the total number of online video service subscriptions at over one billion. The report also shows that while box office revenue plummeted due to coronavirus closures, overall industry revenue wasn’t hurt as badly because of the massive spread of streaming and other home media services. Obviously, that balance will tip back toward movie theaters after the pandemic is over, but the dominance of streaming is probably here to stay.

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Money and subscribers aren’t the only metrics by which streaming is becoming the preeminent media platform either. For the second year in a row, Netflix will enter the Oscars with more nominations than any other studio, with 35 total this time around. The range of content being produced for streaming platforms has expanded to include many more feature-length films, as well as original comedies, drama series, documentaries, and kids programming.

There’s been some debate over the viability of certain streaming services as the marketplace becomes more and more saturated, but the overall rise in numbers is a sign that those concerns may not be as serious as they once seemed. Still, not every platform has found the same level of success. Apple TV+, for instance, has struggled significantly, with recent data showing a majority of the service’s subscribers are on free trials. The landscape of streaming will surely continue to change rapidly over the next few years, but one thing’s for sure – its rise isn't stopping anytime soon.

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