Nielsen report: Netflix has the upper hand in the streaming wars

Consumers are hooked on streamed content.

vintage television vector set

In January, Input wrote about the gazillion TV series and movies inundating our screens. It's a flood of streamed content and it won't end anytime soon. In fact, according to a survey by the data and measurement firm Nielsen, streamed content takes up about 19 percent of American TV.

While, yes, traditional linear TV reigns as the dominant and conventional source of film, documentaries, and series in the United States, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon, and others are creeping up — and fast. Here's what the streaming battlefield looks like right now.

Netflix is king, others are trying — Priced at $12.99 for the standard monthly subscription, Netflix makes up 31 percent of the video content streamed by consumers. Per Nielsen, video content distribution and consumption for the rest of the crowd looks like this:

  • YouTube makes up 21 percent of streamed content after Netflix.
  • Hulu constitutes 12 percent.
  • Amazon made up just 8 percent.
  • At the end, Nielsen categorized remainder services under the umbrella term of "Others" which comprises 28 percent of streamed content.

Even more titles — As of December 2019, Nielsen reports that streaming consumers had access to 646,152 programs. It's a 10 percent spike from 2018, which confirms our earlier stated theory: we are officially drowning in content. While it's great for variety and a breadth of choice, the downside to this endless world of series and films is that there is consumer analysis paralysis, quantity often trumping quality, consumer fatigue as streaming businesses clamor for people's attentions, and just a lot of noise.

What keeps people hooked? — There has to be a reason for the addiction. The Nielsen survey points to affordability as its top explanation for the popularity but also ease of use, content variety, playback quality, loading speed, resolution, no ads, and other factors.

All in all, Nielsen predicts that these streaming wars will continue. The firm even offers some advice: if companies want to win the race, they need to learn how to adapt to the marketplace and the ever-evolving needs of its consumers. Otherwise, frankly put, they'll bite the dust.