Netflix Competitors and Substitutes

Netflix is the world’s largest online streaming platform with more than 260 million paid subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2023. The company has experienced outstanding growth over the past several years. It has successfully penetrated many markets outside the United States, with its content being served online across more than 190 countries and territories. In fiscal 2022, Netflix experienced impressive growth driven by strong user base growth and some other factors. 

Netflix is known as an innovative brand with a strong focus on user experience. Its focus on user experience and a large collection of original content are among the key drivers of the  brand’s popularity and fast growth. While Netflix is the streaming brand in the United States, it is still facing strong competition from several other online streaming players.

Netflix is operating in a highly competitive market environment worldwide and apart from the major US based and international streaming brands, there are several local players in many of the world’s leading markets across the globe, which compete with Netflix. 

In this post, we will examine the leading competitors of Netflix in the US and overseas markets. The top rivals of Netflix in the global market include Prime Video and Disney Plus. However, the list of  Netflix rivals1 is much longer including the ones limited to the US market and others operating in global or local markets.

# Top Netflix Rivals
1 Prime Video
2 Disney+
3 Hulu
4 YouTube Movies and TV
5 HBO Max
6 Paramount+
7 AppleTV+
8 Peacock

  • Other Netflix Substitutes
  • 1. CBS All Access (Classics)
  • 2. Discovery+
  • 3. Acorn TV (British TV Shows)
  • 4. CrunchyRoll (Anime)
  • 5. Mubi (International Movies & Shows)
  • 6. ESPN+, DAZN (Sports)
  • 7. Tubi, Pluto TV (Free)
  • 8. Vudu (Rent or buy movies and shows)
  • 9. Shudder (Horror)
  • 10. Curiosity Stream (Educational)

Prime Video: 

Amazon owned Prime Video is the largest competitor of Netflix. Prime Video has also experienced solid growth in its popularity across the globe. Its growth is mainly driven by several improvements including better user experience, increased original content, and higher content diversity. Apart from a large collection of movies including Amazon originals and shows (including famous original shows like Wheel of Time), Prime Video offers new releases on rent. This is how Prime Video has been able to differentiate itself from Netflix and other leading players.

It also includes content owned by several other smaller online streaming channels like LionsgatePlay on its platform that users can subscribe to for watching. There are multiple similar channels including various local channels available for watching on Prime Video platform by buying a separate subscription. Prime Video has continued to grow its collection of originals which has also boosted its popularity. By the second quarter of 2022, Prime Video had more than 220 million subscribers2 and the number of subscribers grew higher than 260 million by the end of 2023. In the online streaming sector, Prime Video is right now the closest challenger of Netflix in the US as well as global markets.

Disney Plus:

Disney Plus is also among the top online streaming platforms with a large global user base. It is also among the leading competitors of Netflix. Disney’s popularity around the world is driven by a lot of original Disney owned content including movies and shows as well as a superior user experience. Disney Plus has also experienced a significant  growth in its user base. In 2023, its global user base has grown to more than 150 million according to Statista3

Apart from its own content, Disney also shows licensed content from other sources on Disney Plus. Disney Acquired 21st Century Fox in 2019 which also led to the acquisition of Indian online streaming platform HotStar, which was later integrated with Disney Plus in 2020. In India, Disney Plus HotStar is available as one online streaming platform where users can watch the movies and shows available on Disney Plus as well as a lot of local content for Indian viewers and sports content for Indian and global users.

Disney Plus has been investing in improving user experience and creating more original content to rapidly expand its user base in recent years. 

YouTube Movies and TV:

YouTube is the largest video sharing social network with a vast collection of videos that users can watch for free. However, YouTube also has a vast collection of movies that users can rent to watch. It does not follow a subscription model like Netflix or other online streaming channels. To stream full length movies on YouTube, viewers need to rent movies which they can watch in the next 48 hours. This is similar to how Prime Video rents out the latest movies on its platform for watching. However, YouTube has also become a primary destination for movie lovers. Especially the ones wanting to watch the latest releases online from their homes can rent them from YouTube.

YouTube already has a vast user base before which it promotes its services including YouTube music and movies. YouTube has also expanded its services with YouTube TV. The base plan of YouTube TV is available for $72.99/month. However, new users can get discounted offers for the first three months. YouTube seems bent on becoming the top player in online TV streaming with its YouTube TV offering.

Hulu:

Hulu is another significant player in the online streaming sector and a leading Netflix rival. While the services of Hulu are currently limited to the US mainly, it still has a significant market share in the US SVOD market. According to Statista, by the end of 2022, Hulu had around 48 million subscribers. In the fourth quarter of 2023, the  number of Hulu paid subscribers was around 48.5 million4

Hulu serves original programming and content from Disney, Fox, BBC America, Showtime, TLC, CBS, ABC News, Animal Planet, Complex, Freeform, FX, and others5. It offers several plans including those partially supported by ads. Its basic ad supported plan is available for $7.99/month and for those who do not want to view ads, they can buy a monthly subscription for $17.99.6 Moreover, Hulu offers several combos including Hulu and Disney Plus as well as Hulu, Disney Plus and Live TV. 

HBO Max:

Max, previously known as HBO max is another popular online streaming service available in the United States. Apart from the US, it is also available in some other regions including Latin America, Caribbean and parts of Europe. Max includes HBO Max and content previously available on Discovery Plus. In the second quarter of 2023, the streaming service had around 95.8 million subscribers.7

  Max offers content from the libraries of Warner bros, Discovery Channel, CNN, Cartoon Network, Animal Planet, Adult Swim and EuroSport as well as their related brands. While Max has experienced a slight decline in its user base in 2023 compared to the prior year, its overall market share has remained relatively stable.  Max is also the favorite of a large user base in the United states and several more markets because of its expansive collection of original content.

Paramount+:

Compared to Netflix, Paramount + is a less known name. However, recently, it has experienced impressive market share growth in the United States.8 While Netflix has experienced a decline in its market share in the US, Paramount + and a few other players experienced growth. Paramount+ is currently available in the US, UK and other Western markets. The platform also provides its content through third party distributors and in several markets, its content is available through Skyshowtime.

Paramount+ mainly draws its content from the libraries of CBS Media Ventures, CBS Studios, Paramount Media Networks, and Paramount Pictures9. The platform also offers live sports coverage and a large collection of original movies and shows. The basic plan of Paramount Plus known as Paramount Plus Essential plan is an ad supported plan available for $5.99 per month which users can buy to stream more than 45,000 show episodes and movies. 10

This plan does not include the local live CBS station. Another plan that costs $11.99 per month includes the local CBS station, Paramount Plus and Showtime. However, Paramount Plus is planning to launch its services in several more international markets. In North America, Paramount Plus is available in the US.  Canada and Mexico while in the Asia Pacific region, it is available only in the Australian market.  

Apple TV+:

Apple TV+ was introduced recently with a very small catalog of movies, shows and documentaries. However, Apple has expanded its online streaming platform at quite a fast pace. Apple TV Plus has become a significant player in the US SVOD market. Apple TV + was among the few streaming players in the US that gained market share last year. Apple is investing in creating original content to attract more viewers. Compared to Netflix Apple TV+ has a much smaller collection of movies and shows but it mainly includes award winning productions.

Apple has increased the pace at which it is adding original content to grow its market share. In the last quarter of 2023, Apple TV + held a market share of 7% in the US SVOD market11. Considering that it was introduced in only 2019 and is owned by the largest technology brand, Apple TV + could expand its market share faster in the future by adding more original content and growing its catalog of shows and movies. However, Apple seems to be very selective in terms of what it shows on its online streaming platform.  

Peacock:-

Peacock is one of the streaming platforms in the United States that has experienced significant growth in popularity and brand awareness in recent years. It also experienced significant improvement in its market share in 2022. PeacockTV has emerged to become a significant player in the US SVOD market.12  Currently, only the US based viewers can watch Peacock. With a Peacock TV Subscription, you can stream more than 80,000 hours of TV, movies and sports.

The Peacock Premium plan is an ad supported plan that offers access to content at $5.99 per month with advertisements. However, access with this plan is limited and those who want complete access to all the content with nearly no ads will need to spend an additional $6 per month or $60 per year. Peacock also offers a nice collection of originals, movies and shows. Its originals have helped it find popularity and growth in the United States.

A few last words:

Netflix has seen substantial growth as the leading player in the global online streaming market over the past several years. With a global user base of more than 260 million paid subscribers by the end of 2023, it is the largest player in the online streaming sector. However, the company is now facing increasing competition from several established and emerging players.

While Prime Video is currently its most aggressive competitor, Disney Plus, and YouTube are also fiercely trying to expand their market share. Among the new winners are HBO Max, Paramount Plus and Peacock TV. YouTube TV has also experienced significant growth in popularity and viewership over the last year. Apple TV + is also making its presence felt with its set of award winning movies and shows. 

This list mainly included the players competing with Netflix in the US or global markets. In several other leading markets too, many new online streaming platforms have emerged that offer a lot of local content. Netflix is investing in creating and acquiring more local content in various languages for its important markets like India, South Korea and Japan.

The company is also relaxing its pricing to attract more customers. However, other players in the US and international markets have also introduced ad supported tiers at lower prices to grow their subscriber base. If Netflix has experienced a significant decline in its market share over the past few years, emergence of new players and aggressive spending on demand creation by established players are the main reasons behind it.

Viewers wanting to experience new type of content or bored of scrolling through Netflix and other leading platforms have more options. CBS All Access offers classic movies and TV shows for classic lovers. Discovery Plus is for the lovers of documentaries and on fiction content. Acorn TV offers a great selection of British TV shows. Crunchyroll is a popular choice for the lovers of Anime. Mubi is another great option for those wanting to enjoy international movies and shows. Sports lovers can try ESPN + and DAZN for live sports events and original content. Viewers can also have free access to movies and TV shows on Tubi and Pluto TV. Vudu is another great choice for buying or renting movies and shows online. For the lovers of Horror, Shudder offers a nice collection. Curiosity Stream is a great option for those who love educational content. So, you can see that you have several substitutes you can try if you ever grow bored of sticking to only Netflix.

Sources Used:

  1. https://www.statista.com/chart/25382/most-used-video-streaming-platforms/ ↩︎
  2. https://www.sellcell.com/blog/how-many-subscribers-do-netflix-amazon-prime-video-disney-other-video-streaming-services-have/ ↩︎
  3. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1095372/disney-plus-number-of-subscribers-us/ ↩︎
  4. https://www.statista.com/statistics/258014/number-of-hulus-paying-subscribers/ ↩︎
  5. https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-hulu-4783546 ↩︎
  6. https://help.hulu.com/s/article/how-much-does-hulu-cost ↩︎
  7. https://variety.com/2023/tv/news/max-subscribers-down-warner-bros-discovery-1235685105/ ↩︎
  8. https://www.statista.com/statistics/496011/usa-svod-to-tv-streaming-usage/ ↩︎
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramount ↩︎
  10. https://help.paramountplus.com/s/article/PD-What-plans-are-available-for-Paramount-and-how-much-do-they-cost ↩︎
  11. https://9to5mac.com/2023/10/11/heres-how-apple-tv-growth-compares-to-other-streaming-platforms-in-the-us/ ↩︎
  12. https://www.similarweb.com/blog/insights/media-entertainment-news/streaming-q1-2023/ ↩︎