Netflix to Surpass 147 Million Viewers in US by End of Year, Study Finds

Number of people using streamer is more than double its subscriber count of 58.4 million

Netflix, Amazon, Hulu
From eMarketer's The Global Media Intelligence Report, 2018

Netflix may have ended the third quarter with 58.4 million subscribers, but, according to a study from eMarketer, 147.5 million U.S. consumers will have used the platform in 2018.

The reason the number — which accounts for 52.8 percent of all U.S. internet users — is so large is because it takes into account Netflix users who don’t have their own subscription, such as those that use a family member or friend’s account.

The study shows that Netflix is still growing in the U.S. and is typically the first subscription service that new cord cutters try.

“Netflix reported more than 5.5 million paid membership additions for Q3 2018 vs. Q3 last year, and that doesn’t even count the new viewers coming from multiple log-ins and shared passwords,” said Chris Bendtsen, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer, in the study’s announcement.

Following behind Netflix is Amazon and Hulu, which are expected to attract 31.7 percent (88.7 million) and 19.7 percent (55 million) of all U.S. internet users, respectively.

Falling in line with most analysts, Bendsen attributes a large portion of this growth to the production of original content. Netflix, for example, which has experienced the most success among U.S. subscription video on-demand (SVOD) platforms, is expected to spend as much as $13 billion on programming this year, with a large portion of that sum going toward the production and acquisition of more than 700 original projects.

Hulu too is expected to kick up its production of original content according to Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, which will soon own 60 percent of the streaming company as part of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s assets.

“Given the success of Hulu so far in terms of subscriber growth and the relative brand strength and other things like demographics, we think there’s an opportunity to increase investment in Hulu notably on the programming side,” Iger said during the conglomerate’s fourth-quarter earnings call last week.

Overall, the number of U.S. internet users expected to use an SVOD service (an on-demand streaming service that charges a monthly fee) this year, per eMarketer, is 170.1 million or 60.8 percent of said group.

eMarketer’s study — TheGlobal Media Intelligence Report — was created in collaboration with Starcom Worldwide and GlobalWebIndex. GlobalWebIndex runs a quarterly research program, asking internet users aged 16 to 64 in more than 40 countries a wide range of questions about their digital lives and lifestyles. The minimum sample size per quarter, per country is 1,250; while bigger markets have larger quarterly sample sizes, with the maximum being 15,000 in China and the US. Respondents can only participate in GlobalWebIndex’s research once per year.