Port Washington, NY, February 24, 2023 – According to research from The NPD Group, viewership on streaming services was flat in 2022, even though viewer interest in original titles is soaring. Total streaming video on demand (SVOD) viewership among Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video was up less than 1% compared to 2021. The total number of hours watched in 2022 totaled 116 billion, an increase of 0.6% compared to 115 billion hours in 2021. The number of services being used by SVOD viewers in the U.S. has also remained stable over the past six months. The average viewer currently uses 4.6 SVOD services, according to NPD.
While overall viewership was flat, the content source being consumed changed dramatically. The total number of titles available in December 2022 declined by 27% compared to the prior year. Viewership of original titles increased 26% in 2022 while viewership of licensed titles declined by 12%. This trend appears to be a function of availability and not preference as the number of original titles available in December 2022 increased 14% year-over-year while the number of licensed titles decreased by 38%.
On all three SVOD platforms, at least one original series was in the top five for the year. Stranger Things ranked first on Netflix with 1.9 billion hours for the year. The Handmaid’s Tale ranked third on Hulu with 345 million hours. And The Boys ranked first on Amazon Prime Video with 219 million hours watched.
“SVOD remains a healthy distribution channel with viewership shifting between the numerous broad and targeted services,” said John Buffone, vice president, industry advisor for NPD. “Over the past couple of years there was a concerted effort by most media companies to retain content to bolster their own streaming services which resulted in this shift to original programming. But that’s all starting to change as Hollywood is shifting from focusing on subscriber growth to maximizing content monetization through non-exclusive licenses.”