You probably know that if you have had a cable subscription in the past 80 years, it is likely that you are familiar with the Big Three networks. These three networks were the dominant broadcast networks in America for decades. According to Digital TV Research's new research, the Big Three might soon be crowned for a new era of media consumption, the streaming era.
Researchers found that worldwide SVOD subscriptions will increase by 491,000,000 between 2021-2026 and eventually reach 1.64 billion. While Netflix is currently the global streaming leader, with roughly 209 million global paid members at the end Q2 2021, researchers anticipate that this will change rapidly, with Disney+ expected to take the crown in the next five year. Digital TV Research estimates that Disney's streaming juggernaut will add 140 million subscribers over the next five years, taking its total to 284,000,000. Meanwhile, Netflix is projected to add 53 million users to reach 271 million subscribers.
Disney+ will be the streaming service that is declared the original content king and undisputed winner by 2026. However, analysts project that the three platforms will ultimately control the majority of global SVOD subscriptions. Amazon Prime Video and Netflix are currently behind the Mouse Houses. This is, barring any unexpected developments, the Big Three of streaming. The currently-crowded field will only get smaller.
It was almost inevitable that there would be a Big Three of Streaming. Capitalism encourages companies to play Hungry Hungry Hoppos to gain global influence and power. The streaming wars are no exception. Each brand is constantly seeking to acquire as much intellectual property to offer potential subscribers the best content, crushing all competition.
Recent dramas in carriage deals, such as the one between YouTube TV, NBCUniversal and Peacock, reportedly over Peacock's request that the platform bundle its streaming service, Peacock, prove that bundles are the last frontier in brands' never-ending quest to consolidate. Peacock's subscriber numbers have been disappointing since its launch in 2020. The nonsensical demand for it to be bundled with YouTube TV was probably just NBCUniversals desperate bid to increase distribution. In the years ahead, we will likely see more brands resort to bundle deals and other desperate last-ditch attempts to reach new customers. We still have much to fight in the streaming wars, even though 2026 is a long way off.