Will YouTube Dominate This Inning of the Streaming Wars?

By: Anneken Tappe · February 15, 2024 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Next Inning of the Streaming Wars

People who say Netflix (NFLX) won the streaming wars may be forgetting another major player: YouTube (GOOGL).

Netflix has dominated by many metrics, especially when compared to traditional Hollywood players. The streaming leader posted its highest subscription growth ever in the fourth quarter of 2023, adding more than 13 million subscribers. Its total, 260 million, is more than double the global subscriber count of runner-up Disney+ (DIS). So Netflix seems to be the real deal. But by other measures, like view time and ad revenue, the company is being outpaced by YouTube.

Gaining Ground

At the start of 2023, Netflix and YouTube accounted for 7.5% and 7.3%, respectively, of all TV viewing, according to Nielsen. By December, Netflix’s market share had increased to 7.7%, but YouTube’s share had surged to 8.5%, the highest of all streamers measured. On top of that, YouTube led view time for most of 2023 and brought in $9.2 billion in ad revenue in Q4 alone.

Also worth bearing in mind for streamers: Gen Z watches almost as much creator content as they do movies and TV, according to research company Forrester .

YouTube has challenges too. Hosting user-generated content exposes YouTube to vulnerabilities in the form of brand safety issues, regulatory threats, and costly content moderation, for example.

And then there’s YouTube TV, which allows users to stream TV, and attracts millions of subscribers in its own right. So when it comes to the next inning of the streaming wars, this might be a player to keep a close eye on.

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