Coronavirus to add 5% to streaming service subscriptions in 2020

Strategy Analytics has recently published its latest forecast for Subscription Video-on-Demand (SVOD) services such as Apple TV+, Disney+, Netflix, etc. The forecast took account of the expected impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and although the longer term impact clearly remains uncertain, early evidence suggests that a boost to streaming service subscriptions usage globally can be expected. As a result the forecast for global subscriptions was increased by 5% in comparison to the pre-pandemic model.

Coronavirus streaming subscriptions. Image: Apple TV+ "The Morning Show"
Apple TV+ “The Morning Show”

Strategy Analytics’ projection is now 949 million paid subscriptions globally by the end of 2020, suggesting an increase of 47 million compared to earlier forecasts.

Longer term, the forecast predicts that paid SVOD subscriptions will grow by 621 million between 2019 and 2025, reaching 1.43 billion, according to Strategy Analytics’ “Global SVOD Forecast, by Service (2010 – 2025),” Currently, China and the U.S. combined account for nearly two-thirds (65%) of paid SVOD subscriptions globally, however, as these markets mature and approach market saturation and paid subscriptions, particularly in Southeast Asia grow, their share of global SVOD subscriptions will fall to 55% in 2025.

“One significant factor affecting future SVOD growth is the impact of the Coronavirus in both the short and long term,” said Michael Goodman, Director, TV & Media Strategies, in a statement. “In the near term the coronavirus will actually boost SVOD subscriptions, as well as viewing of these services, as an ever growing number of consumers adopt social distancing or are forced into quarantine. In the mid-to-long term much depends on the length of the pandemic and resulting economic damage. As businesses shut down and individuals are laid off consumers are going to have to make hard decisions about how they spend their money and as wonderful as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and other SVOD services may be, they are not essential services.”

“Despite declining global share, China will remain the largest SVOD market with 438 million paid subscriptions in 2025, up from 131 million from 2019. The U.S. will follow with 342 million subscriptions in 2025, up from 125 million from 2019. With nearly three-quarters of U.S. TV households subscribing to one or more SVOD service the U.S. SVOD market is becoming saturated,” Goodman added, “but with U.S. SVOD households continuing to add additional services such as CBS All Access, Disney+, and the soon-to-launch HBO MAX the total number of SVOD subscriptions in the U.S. will continue to grow.”

MacDailyNews Take: Luckily for Apple TV+, when people buy Macs, iPhones, iPads, etc. they get a free year of the service, so someone buying an Apple product today is likely to not have to pay for Apple TV+ until we’re much closer to an effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, if we don’t already have one by that time, and the economy will likely be on much more solid ground than we have today amidst social distancing and lockdowns.

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