How Many People Use Streaming Services in 2023?

Hi there! Have you ever wondered just how many folks across the globe are streaming videos, music and more with just a click these days? As a tech expert who follows the rapid growth in streaming entertainment, I can tell you the numbers are pretty mind-blowing!

In this guide, I‘ll give you an in-depth look at the major streaming platforms, their skyrocketing user bases, and the fierce competition for subscribers. You‘ll also see how streaming has transformed the entertainment landscape. Let‘s dive in!

Streaming Subscriptions Have Ballooned in Recent Years

It seems like everyone and their mother has a Netflix account these days. But the rise of video and music streaming subscriptions is a relatively new phenomenon.

Back in 2011, Netflix had just 24 million subscribers worldwide. Today, Netflix alone boasts over 220 million subscribers. Amazon Prime Video has grown eight-fold from around 20 million users in 2016 to 175 million now.

What’s driving this exponential growth? A few key factors:

  • Mobile access – Being able to stream anytime, anywhere via smartphones and tablets makes services way more useful. Over 60% of streaming now happens on mobile devices.

  • Original programming – Streaming platforms are splurging on exclusive, high-quality original movies and shows like Stranger Things that you can’t watch elsewhere. This draws in subscribers.

  • Cord-cutting – As traditional pay TV declines, consumers are opting for streaming over pricier cable/satellite packages with hundreds of channels they don’t watch.

Today, an impressive 2.3 billion people use either a video or music streaming platform. That’s nearly a third of the global population!

Clearly, streaming has gone fully mainstream after being niche just a decade ago. Consumers worldwide now binge Netflix hits on their phones on the go rather than waiting for their favorite cable shows.

Global Streaming Revenues Will Soon Top $115 Billion

As more users flood to streaming, revenues have skyrocketed too. The global streaming market was worth just $42.4 billion in 2018.

Fast forward to 2022, and it has zoomed to a whopping $84.3 billion! By 2026, it’s forecast to be $115 billion.

What’s powering this growth?

  • Video streaming dominates, generating over $59 billion in 2021 alone. As platforms invest billions into new original movies and shows, revenues keep climbing. Netflix splurged $17 billion on content in 2021!

  • Developing markets like Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America offer huge new potential subscriber bases. Mobile-first users here are just starting to tap into streaming.

  • Live sports are being added to platforms like Amazon Prime Video, further boosting subscriber fees.

But this growth comes at a cost. Fierce competition forces platforms to spend huge sums on content while still keeping subscriber fees affordable at around $10-$15 per month. Rising password sharing also limits revenue per user.

Balancing these dynamics will be crucial to sustain streaming’s rise.

Users Stream Nearly 7 Hours of Video Per Day Globally

Given how much buzz binge-worthy new shows generate across social media, you’d be forgiven for thinking people do nothing but stream all day long!

Of course, that’s not entirely accurate. But users worldwide do stream a fair bit on average.

According to eMarketer, last year the average user streamed 6 hours and 58 minutes of video per day globally. Usage varies widely by country:

  • USA – 6 hrs 31 mins
  • Canada – 9 hrs 50 mins
  • UK – 6 hrs 25 mins
  • China – 5 hrs 02 mins

Young adults spend the most time streaming, averaging 8-9 hours daily across platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Twitch and more. This steep usage has disrupted traditional entertainment habits.

For example, frequent streamers now visit movie theaters just 3-4 times per year on average versus 5-6 visits for lighter users. Theaters have lost over 50% of their audience in the last 15 years.

And with hundreds of streaming options, consumers see little need for bloated cable bundles. In 2022, cable/satellite providers lost 8 million subscribers, dropping below 80 million total users for the first time in decades.

Netflix Still Leads but Competition Is Fierce

When it comes to market share among pureplay video streamers, Netflix maintains a solid lead for now.


  • Founded: 1997
  • Global subscribers: 223 million
  • Market share: 23%

Thanks to its head start plus smash hits like Squid Game and Stranger Things, Netflix still dominates. But its share is dropping as services like Disney+ explode in popularity.

Amazon Prime Video

  • Founded: 2006
  • Global subscribers: 200 million
  • Market share: 21%

Bundling with Prime shopping benefits has helped Amazon’s streaming arm grow quickly. Investing $465 million into its new Lord of the Rings prequel aims to unseat Netflix.


  • Founded: 2019
  • Global subscribers: 152 million
  • Market share: 16%

Disney made a massive splash in just a few years. Marvel and Star Wars have proven to be subscriber catnip, especially for families. It may overtake Netflix by 2025.


  • Founded: 2020
  • Global subscribers: 77 million
  • Market share: 14%

After merging with Discovery, Warner Bros. Discovery‘s HBO Max saw a huge boost in 2022. Its library of acclaimed shows like Game of Thrones is a big draw.


  • Founded: 2007
  • Global subscribers: 48 million
  • Market share: 11%

Now owned by Disney, Hulu offers current TV episodes and movies. Live TV options help it compete amidst dropping pay TV subscribers.


  • Founded: 2014
  • Global subscribers: 43 million
  • Market share: 4%

This rebranded offering from Paramount Global leverages content from CBS, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures. Star Trek and South Park attract fans.

Apple TV+

  • Founded: 2019
  • Global subscribers: 40 million
  • Market share: 4%

Backed by Apple’s war chest, Apple TV+ has invested heavily in exclusive originals like Ted Lasso. But its smaller content library poses challenges.

New services keep launching worldwide too. In India, over 50 streaming platforms battle it out with low-cost subscription plans as mobile usage explodes. Competition is forcing more niche services to exit the space or get acquired.

Consumers increasingly opt for two or more subscriptions to get access to the best content. The average US user pays for 4 services now!

What Does the Future Hold for Streaming?

Streaming’s meteoric rise over the last decade makes you wonder – what’s next? Here are some potential trends I think could emerge:

  • Mega-platforms created by mergers, like the Discovery-WarnerMedia deal. More consolidation may happen.

  • Continued growth in developing markets like Southeast Asia as mobile penetration increases.

  • New content formats like vertical video thriving on mobile. Shorter episodic shows tailored for smartphones.

  • More sustainable production & data transfer. Streaming already produces over 300 million tons of CO2 per year due to huge server farms required.

  • Augmented and virtual reality could provide more immersive streaming experiences.

  • Increased platform regulation, especially in Europe where Netflix and others now face quotas for local content.

One thing’s for certain – streaming entertainment is here to stay. As technology keeps evolving, the way we stream will only become smoother, more customizable and more personalized.

Ready to start bingeing your latest streaming obsession? With so many brilliant original series to choose from today, the hardest choice is often what to watch next! Hopefully this streaming deep dive gave you some new perspective on just how integral streaming has become to billions of lives globally.


Written by Jason Striegel

C/C++, Java, Python, Linux developer for 18 years, A-Tech enthusiast love to share some useful tech hacks.