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Smaller streamers’ share of global demand for originals increased 36% in a year

Two hands remove a slice from the center of a pie, leaving a play symbol.

Illustration by Holly Warfield / Getty / The Current

As some streaming giants spend less on original content, at least for now, new data provided by Parrot Analytics shows that smaller streamers, including regional players around the globe, could be gaining a foothold.

According to the insights firm, smaller streamers — such as Discovery+, India’s Zee5 and SonyLIV, and even YouTube Originals — grew their share of global demand for original series 36% in the past year and 100% in the last two years. Smaller streamers’ share was 25% in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared with 18.4% the same time in 2022 and 12.5% in 2021.

Data debrief:

Parrot Analytics lumps many streamers located both in and outside the U.S. under its “Others” label. In descending order of share, the top 10 networks are Peacock, YouTube, Zee5, MasterClass, SonyLIV, Hotstar, Discovery+, Facebook Watch, JioCinema and Hoichoi.

Indian streamers are taking up an increasing share of viewers’ global demand for originals, and that’s no coincidence, but rather the result of local players’ shrewd strategy. “Major streamers have struggled to break through in India partly because of holistic content approaches that did not initially account for regional dialects and preferences, which more hyperlocalized streamers are better suited to serve,” says Brandon Katz, entertainment industry strategist at Parrot Analytics. Content spend in India is expected to double to $10 billion by 2028.

Parrot Analytics leverages data that includes exclusive first-party consumption data sets from over 350 million households globally, as well as peer-to-peer consumption, search engines, wikis and informational sites, fan and critic rating sites, social video sites, blogs and microblogging sites, social media platforms, and open streaming platforms.

Why it matters:

While Netflix, Prime Video and Disney, among others, have seen audiences flock to their ad-supported plans, Parrot’s data shows that maintaining a steady output of originals could be key to keeping those audiences on their platforms.

But soaring content costs have pushed many streaming giants to turn to licensed content recently instead, with both Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery striking deals with Netflix. Meanwhile, sports are also taking up a large proportion of content budgets, with Disney funneling approximately 40% of its spend this year into sports and sports content.

With the streaming wars largely over, it appears that top firms are focusing on sustainable viewer retention, rather than no-cost-barred subscriber acquisition. That strategy may help pad the bottom line after years of enormous content expenditures; but advertisers should keep an eye on smaller streamers, both in the U.S. and worldwide, who may just have what it takes in their original content arsenals to entice viewers as their formidable competitors seem to retrench.

The Readout graph: Share of global demand for original series comparing Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+, Max, Paramount, Other.