Top 10 Most Popular Subscription Streaming Services

The same way video killed the radio star, the internet is killing the TV star right now. And one of the main reasons for this: Online streaming. It is widely believed that online streams are only a few years away from completely replacing traditional television. In the United States, a majority already deems television “irrelevant”. So since streaming is clearly the future, it is no surprise that the streaming industry is now worth several billion dollars.

The following lists the 10 most popular subscription streaming services in the world right now by number of (paying) subscribers.

The 10 Most Popular Subscription Streaming Services in the World

most popular streaming services in the world


1. Netflix

Netflix most popular streaming service in the world

Netflix originally was started in 1997 by American entrepreneurs Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph as a DVD rental store. In fact, it became the world’s first online DVD rental store. But from 2007 on, Netflix started offering movies and series as streams. Now, with a total of around 159 million subscribers worldwide, the California-based company is the most popular subscription streaming service in the world. But Netflix is more than just a streaming service. It now also owns its own studios and is producing many movies and series themselves. 19 of the 20 most successful series of 2018 were original Netflix series.


2. Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon of course is primarily known as the world’s largest online store. But Amazon as a company is involved in far more business branches these days. Through Prime Video, the American company offers a streaming service exclusively to Prime members, a premium service for Amazon customers. Prime Video was originally started in 2006 as “Amazon Unbox” and then renamed into “Amazon Instant Video”. In 2011 it then got its current name. Amazon Prime, and therefore Prime Video, now have around 150 million subscribers worldwide. Since 2016, Amazon’s streaming service has also started to offer original content which is produced at Amazon’s own film studio.


3. HBO

HBO (Home Box Office) primarily is an American cable television network. As viewership with the start of the 21st Century was increasingly moving towards the internet, HBO couldn’t ignore this development. HBO therefore first started a streaming service called “HBO Broadband” in 2008 available to HBO subscribers in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. In 2010, HBO then followed with the implementation of HBO Go all over the United States. The rest of the world followed shortly after. In the U.S., HBO Go has since been replaced by “HBO Max”. Under whichever name, HBO now has collectively 140 million subscribers globally and is therefore the third most popular subscription streaming service in the world.

As with all HBO content, every show, series or movie subscribers can watch on any HBO subscription they choose, is made by the now AT&T-owned HBO studios.


4. Spotify

Spotify - most popular muisc streaming service in the world

Spotify is the world’s most popular music subscription streaming service and the fourth most popular subscription streaming service altogether. Spotify was started by Swedish entrepreneurs Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. The streaming service truly changed the music industry. Just like Netflix moved the product “film” from the DVD to the internet, Spotify practically moved the product “music” from the CD to the internet. Spotify, which is now based in Luxembourg, has 124 million subscribers worldwide. And that number is still increasing every year.


5. Apple Music

apple music - second most popular music service

Apple Music completes the Top 5 of the most popular streaming services in the world. Apple Music was started in 2015 and represents the music streaming service of American tech giant Apple. Apple’s former and legendary CEO Steve Jobs always opposed the idea of a subscription music streaming service, despite the success of Spotify. But after his death in 2011, the new Apple leadership could no longer ignore the stark shift of music towards the internet. Interestingly, Apple made the service available even to non-iOS and non-Mac users. Apple Music now has 62 million subscribers worldwide. It is therefore the second most popular music streaming service.


6. Amazon Music


7. Disney+


8. Sirius XM


9. Hulu


10. YouTube Music



The 10 Most Popular Subscription Streaming Services in the World
(at a glance)

(as of March 2020)

Top 10 Most Popular Subscription Streaming Services in the World:
1. NETFLIX
~ 167 million subscribers worldwide
2. PRIME VIDEO
~ 150 million subscribers worldwide
3. HBO
~ 140 million subscribers worldwide
4. SPOTIFY
~ 124 million subscribers worldwide
5. APPLE MUSIC
~ 62 million subscribers worldwide
6. AMAZON MUSIC
~ 55 million subscribers worldwide
7. DISNEY+
~ 54 million subscribers worldwide
8. SIRIUS XM
~ 35 million subscribers worldwide
9. HULU
~ 32 million subscribers worldwide
10. YOUTUBE MUSIC
~ 22 million subscribers worldwide

The 10 most popular streaming services in the world by number of worldwide subscribers. Only streaming services with paid subscription plans are counted in this ranking.


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