The Rise and Rise of Online Streaming Platforms

Jul 8 . 3 m

Close up of girl watching streaming show on a phone

Streaming ‘Killed’ the TV Star

Do you remember a time when online streaming platforms weren’t a thing? We can’t either.

However, if we stop to think about it for a second, the online streaming format has not been around for very long. So, how does something so novel come in and completely revolutionise the way in which we interact with entertainment? Today, we’re taking a look at online streaming platforms and why they became so popular in a short period of time.

It can be said that the popularity of a trend, product, or service is very often linked to how well it can fulfil a need that the target audience is facing. In this case, online streaming platforms fulfilled a very important need that traditional TV channels did not cater to. Contrary to TV, online streaming platforms let you view whatever you want, whenever you want, from any device on the go or at home.

Younger audiences consume entertainment almost exclusively through streaming but this is not solely restricted to the younger demographic. The convenience of viewing anything we wish without a programme schedule is now a standard that everyone has come to enjoy.

Streaming Stats

Putting it simply, the statistics are staggering.

Just to put things into perspective, in 2020, the average American was streaming 8 hours of content every day. Granted, many of us spent a large part of last year at home, however, this does not make this statistic any less impressive. YouTube alone has more than 2 billion users, which is almost equivalent to a third of the internet.

The mobile phone is the device of choice with the large majority of Gen Z and Millennials, (55% and 58% respectively) viewing streamed content on their phone.

The Big Players

So, who are the big players in the online streaming arena? We’re sure you can already guess who they might be, but here’s a round-up of the streaming heavyweights.


A platform that hardly needs an introduction. During the first quarter of 2021, Netflix had more than 207.64 million paid subscribers. The streaming giant doesn’t show signs of slowing down with plans to allocate $17 billion on its content this year.


A ubiquitous presence in the streaming area. If you had to stop to think about it for a second; does a day go without seeing something on YouTube? The streaming giant was the force that led the way for user-generated content but it has evolved to be much more than this. Indeed, it is now an important platform for anyone from top recording artists to big brands without stopping to be a home for self-made content creators.

Disney Plus

A relatively new, but important addition to the streaming world. While Disney Plus initially had a very limited coverage but has quickly expanded to 59 countries and now counts 100 million subscribers worldwide. Not too shabby for a service that was only launched in late 2019.

Amazon Prime Video

Who would have said that a retail platform could also venture successfully into online streaming? Suffice to say that Amazon Prime Video counts more than 150 million users and an impressive 64% of global households subscribe to this service.

Even though TV will always hold a special place in our hearts, it is safe to say that online streaming platforms have placed themselves firmly at the forefront of all things entertainment.

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Zoe Theofilou