Just How Big is Netflix’s Reach?

April 19, 2022

This article is included in these additional categories: Demographics & Audiences | Digital | Pay-TV & Cord-Cutting | Television | Video | Youth & Gen X

Calling it the “elephant in the subscription OTT room,” eMarketer has released new estimates about Netflix’s size that don’t rely solely on individual paying subscriptions. Instead, taking into account household and group viewing as well as password sharing, the research firm projects that actual monthly viewers of Netflix are almost 3 times higher than its paid subscriptions.

Taking these factors into account, eMarketer figures that this year there will be 658 million people tuning in around the world to watch Netflix content at least once a month, representing a 7.7% increase from last year. While growth rates are expected to decrease (as is typical for something with an audience so large), Netflix viewers are expected to reach and slightly surpass the 750 million mark in 2025.

Globally, at that point, more than 1 in 3 (34.9%) of the world’s subscription OTT video service users will be consuming content from Netflix, a figure that would actually represent a slight decrease from 36% share in 2020, as OTT video options proliferate and streaming increasingly overtakes traditional TV.

1 in 3 with Netflix Share the Service

The eMarketer projections include password sharing, and new survey data from Leichtman Research Group (LRG) attempt to put a figure on that sharing activity. According to the survey of more than 4,400 US adults (18+), one-third of Netflix services are used in multiple households. Specifically, 15% are used and paid for by households that also share them with someone outside of the household, another 15% are used in a household but borrowed from another paying household, and 3% are used by multiple households that share costs.

The 33% of Netflix services shared outside the household is slightly above the 29% average for all of the 15 direct-to-consumer (DTC) and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services examined for the report.

Other Findings:

  • Younger adults tend to benefit more from other people paying for their DTC services: 34% of adults ages 18-34 have at least one such service that is fully paid for by someone else, 2.5x the share for people ages 35 and older (14%).
  • That may be why almost one-quarter (23%) of vMVPD services are shared by multiple households, as 65% of those with a vMVPD service are ages 18-44.
  • Satisfaction with vMVPD services is rising, from 69% in 2018 to 76% in 2020 and 79% this year.

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