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What Recession? U.S. Subscription Streaming Biz Is Not Slowing Down, New Data Suggests

Subscription streaming services
(Image credit: Positively Osceola)

The Great Streaming Recession might be a myth, after all. 

In fact, the growth rate in U.S. consumer spending on subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services doesn't even appear to be decelerating. 

Omdia, an Informa-housed research company that provides SVOD spending data through the Digital Entertainment Group's (DEG) quarterly state-of-the-video-business reports, said that U.S. SVOD revenue grew by 16.6% to $7.426 billion in the second quarter.

This is juxtaposed by a very similar year-over-year growth rate of 16.8% in 2021. 

Market leader Netflix saw its global revenue expansion slow from a rate of 19.4% in the second quarter of 2021 to just 8.6% in Q2 of this year. And Netflix is projecting global revenue growth of just 4.7% in the third quarter. 

(Image credit: DEG)

With Netflix losing customers in the U.S. and Canada in the last two quarters, an industry-wide assumption had begun to take hold that maybe the subscription streaming business isn't technically in recession ... but that it's growing more slowly than ever.

Relying mostly on data supplied directly from the media/entertainment companies, DEG tallies non-advertising-related spending on movies and TV shows. And with the COVID-fueled shutdown of the theatrical release pipeline through most of 2020 and virtually all of 2021, SVOD is the only sector DEG tracks that is not in recession.

This includes the rental and sale of digital movie and TV shows -- the VOD business was down 15.2% in Q2, for instance. 

But with the theatrical pipeline coming back to life, DEG argues that the trend lines are pointed back up. In the second quarter of 2021, for example, both the VOD and "electronic sell-through categories were down nearly 40%. 

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!