More than half of U.S. households with a WiFi connection use at least one over-the-top service, or are watching movies and TV shows over the internet, rather than via a cable box or through a cable provider, according to comScore. Streaming platforms are taking on the same role as traditional, linear TV programming, with users being the most active on over-the-top services during primetime viewing hours.
Netflix remains king among over-the-top content providers, with the streaming giant reaching about 75% of homes who use over-the-top services, according to comScore. Surprisingly, YouTube came in second, as it's grown its reach to 53% of OTT homes. Amazon Video was in third with 33%, followed by Hulu with 17%.
Several analysts argue that the rivalry between Netflix and Amazon depends less on subscriber counts and more on providing the high-quality original content that makes them spend more time on the platform. Morgan Stanley analysts said about 45% of Netflix subscribers also use Prime Instant Video, while 60% of Prime subscribers also use Netflix.
comScore noted that there are now 11 over-the-top services that reach one million or more homes in a given month, which likely includes AT&T's (T) DirecTV Now, Hulu's upcoming live TV service, Google's (GOOGL) just-launched YouTube TV, CBS's (CBS) All Access and Sony's PlayStation Vue. Additionally, there's speculation that Apple (AAPL) could be developing its own streaming service, especially as it continues to roll out more original content.
Making the streaming arms race all the more competitive, Comcast (CMCSA) is also rumored to be entering the arms race by launching a streaming service exclusively for NBC shows. The service could also include content from Comcast cable channels Bravo, SyFy and USA.