Streaming Service Ad Impressions Rise 94%: iSpot

Disney Plus
Streaming services are advertising to get subscribers who want to watch shows like 'The Mandalorian' (Image credit: Disney)

In an aggressive push to add streaming subscribers, TV impressions advertising direct-to-consumer video services nearly doubled, rising 93.5% in 2020, according to

The streaming industry became the No. 10 ad category ranked by impressions in 2020. The media value of those impressions rose more than 113%, making streaming the sixth biggest ad category category in terms of dollars, up from 10th in 2019.

Many of these streaming services do not take advertising themselves, but are buying commercials to reach viewers who have not yet cut the cord.

The Walt Disney Co., which pivoted its corporate strategy to support its new direct-to-consumer video services, backed its services with the most impressions, with 31.3 billion impressions between Disney Plus and Hulu. 

Industry leader Netflix was up just 2% over last year and fell outside the top 10 at No. 15.

The list includes many brand new services that didn’t advertise in 2019, including Comcast’s Peacock, AT&T’s HBO Max and Quibi, the short-form streaming service that quickly flamed out. Discovery Plus, which launches Jan 4., already was No. 19.

A handful of services had fewer ad impressions in 2020, with Dish’s Sling down 20%, ESPN Plus down 27% and Spectrum TV on Demand down 46%.

iSpot said total TV ad impressions were up year over year. iSpot’s data runs from Jan. 1 through Dec. 6.

Disney Plus bombarded consumers with the commercials generating the most impressions of any streaming service at 16.9 billion, up 483% from 2019, when the service was launched  on Nov. 12. Hulu was next with 14.4 billion impressions, up 144%.

No. 3 was Amazon Prime Video, up 32.9% to 10.9 million impressions, followed by brand new Peacock with 6.4 billion impressions, Apple TV Plus with 6.2 billion impressions, up 72.2% Fox Nation with 5.3 billion impressions, up 96.3%; Sling with 4.9 billion impressions, down 19.7%, new HBO Max with 4.7 billion impressions; CBS All Access (which will turn into Paramount Plus next year) with 4.2 billion impressions, up 326% and ESPN Plus with 3.2 billion impressions, down 27.3%, rounding out the top 10.

iSpot Streaming Disney Plus

(Image credit: iSpot)
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.