SVOD services approach the market with varying strategies toward third-party distribution. Following the precedent set by Netflix, some of the largest services prioritize growing Subscribers via the Direct channel.
On the other hand, smaller services like Showtime & Starz embrace third-party distribution. Apple and Amazon combine to own the billing relationship for over 70% of Showtime & Starz Subscribers across major retail digital distribution (Direct, Amazon, Apple).
- Netflix owned close to all of its Subscriber billing relationships at the end of 2020 (save some holdover from Apple). For comparison, over a quarter of Disney+ Subscribers were billed via third-party platforms at the end of 2020.
- During a year of strong Subscriber growth, share of HBO Max Subscribers via Amazon shrank from nearly 60% in 2019 to 40% by the end of 2020 — the Direct channel accounted for almost all of this change in share.
- Apple & Amazon processed billing for about 1 in 5 Premium SVOD Subscriptions at year end 2020 (1 in 3 excluding Netflix).
Brendan Brady is a Content Strategy Associate at Antenna, a measurement and analytics company providing insight into purchase behavior and subscription metrics across the new media landscape.