Who's No. 1 in AVOD? Who Knows ...

No. 1 foam finger
(Image credit: Wikipedia)

Hulu is the leader in ad-supported video-on-demand, generating 60% of the $3.5 billion in annual revenue yielded by the U.S. AVOD sector, according to Kantar.

Kantar's findings, published Tuesday morning, were followed by a tweet from another research company, Parks Associates, revealing Pluto TV -- which isn't even in Kantar's ranking -- as the most viewed AVOD platform in the U.S over the last 30 days. 

So who's No. 1 in AVOD? It's really hard to tell.

Parks Associates AVOD rankings

(Image credit: Parks Associates)

Parks ranks Tubi second in usage, followed by Roku Channel, Peacock, IMDb TV and Crackle, with all contenders controlling less than 15% of overall usage. 

Kantar ranks Paramount Plus second behind Hulu in ad revenue at $822 million from October 1, 2020 through September 30 2021, followed by Peacock ($279 million) and Tubi ($250 million). 

Granted, the two research companies are comparing apples (i.e. ad revenue) to oranges (usage). And their timing windows are different, too. But to a large extent, these metrics go hand in hand, and we see plenty of things to kick the tires on. 

For starters, Kantar -- which billed its report as an assessment of "the four leading ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) platforms" -- didn't include data for Pluto TV, which ViacomCBS recently said will generate more than $1 billion in ad revenue in 2021.

Kantar said, "Coverage of the AVOD market will expand in 2022 to include more than approximately $8 billion in reported AVOD spend, including Pluto TV, HBO Max, Discovery Plus and Prende TV." 

But until then, it seems misleading to include Paramount Plus over its corporate sibling Pluto TV in a ranking of "leading AVOD" platforms. Did the partially ad-supported "Essential" tier of Paramount Plus, which didn't debut until March 4, really generate more ad revenue than its ViacomCBS sibling, Pluto TV, over the 12-month span Kantar measured? Certainly not. 

And what about the Roku Channel? Roku reported $583 million in "platform" revenue just in the third quarter ending September 30. A giant portion of that sum had to be ads sold on Roku Channel, which would certainly seem to garner ranking on Kantar's list.

Conversely, Parks Associates ranks the "ad supported" side of Peacock fourth in usage. But the far-larger Hulu platform, which is driven by the $6.99 ad-supported basic tier, is nowhere on Parks' list.

Daniel Frankel

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!