With hundreds of millions of subscribers around the world, it’s clear that streaming services are gaining ground on cable and other traditional platforms.
Netflix was the first major streaming service, but it has faced stronger and stronger competition over the last few years. Still, Netflix has the largest audience of any digital subscription.
Let’s take a look at the most popular streaming services in 2022.
According to Statista, Netflix now has over 220 million active subscribers.
Even though it has lost ground over the last few years, Netflix is still the most popular streaming service.
Netflix has been able to stay ahead of the competition due to a combination of brand recognition, a deep library of shows and movies, and a steady stream of original content.
Subscriptions are currently available for $9.99 per month (Basic), $15.49 per month (Standard), and $19.99 per month (Premium).
The Standard plan supports HD streaming and streams and downloads on two different devices.
Premium introduces Ultra HD content, and Premium users can stream on four devices at once.
Sharing a Netflix subscription is the best way to save money without losing access to your favorite shows and movies.
2. Prime Video
Amazon Prime passed 200 million subscribers in 2021. That puts Prime Video in a close second behind Netflix in terms of active users.
After a price increase on February 18, 2022, Amazon started charging $14.99 per month or $139 per year for Prime. Eligible students can get the same subscription for roughly half price at $7.49 per month or $69 per year.
Standalone Prime Video memberships are available for $8.99 per month (no annual option).
Every Amazon Prime subscription comes with Prime Video, so the 200 million figure includes all Prime subscribers.
It’s unclear how many of those care about Prime Video compared to those who subscribe for the other benefits. At the same time, Prime Video is still among the leaders of the streaming space.
Spotify recently passed 400 million active users, making it the largest streaming service on Earth.
However, only about 180 million of those are paying subscribers. The rest are using Spotify’s free features without paying for a premium subscription.
Apple Music, Amazon Music, and other competitors have made inroads in the last few years.
Competition and other factors led to a dramatic drop in the value of Spotify shares near the beginning of 2022.
Still, Spotify is the market leader when it comes to audio streaming.
Plans currently start at $9.99 per month, but that drops to just $4.99 if you’re an eligible student.
Spotify also allows account sharing through the Duo and Family plans. Duo supports two unique accounts for one payment of $12.99 per month. Similarly, Family comes with up to six different accounts for $15.99 per month.
Hulu is a direct competitor to Netflix, with a similar mix of classic titles and exclusive originals.
It’s one of the cheapest streaming services at a base rate of $6.99 per month. Unfortunately, this plan is subsidized by ads. Ad-free subscriptions are nearly twice as expensive at $12.99 per month.
Hulu is also part of the Disney Bundle, which includes Hulu, Disney Plus, and ESPN Plus. Disney Bundle subscriptions run $13.99 per month for ad-supported Hulu or $19.99 for ad-free.
Additionally, Hulu is the only platform on this list that provides live TV along with streaming video on demand.
Hulu + Live TV is available through the Disney Bundle for $69.99 per month.
5. Disney Plus
Disney Plus is a relatively new streaming service, but it has already had a huge impact on the industry.
In fact, Disney announced that it had reached 100 million subscribers in 2021, less than two years after launching.
Disney Plus gives users access to classic Disney movies, originals like The Mandalorian, and everything in between.
Furthermore, Disney Plus subscriptions cost just $7.99 per month. That’s less than the base Netflix price of $9.99 per month. While Hulu’s ad-supported plan is slightly lower at $6.99 per month, Disney Plus doesn’t come with any ads.
The Disney Bundle is now a key element of Disney’s content strategy.
Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus are available for $13.99 per month. Those subscriptions would cost $21.97 on their own, so the Bundle offers more than 35% in savings.
6. Apple Music
Apple launched Apple Music in 2015 to compete with Spotify for the audio streaming market.
The platform had an estimated 78 million subscribers in 2021.
That figure makes Apple Music the second largest audio streaming service in the world.
Even so, Spotify has more than twice as many subscribers, illustrating its hold over the streaming market.
Apple Music’s pricing is very similar to Spotify. Individual plans run $9.99 per month, while Family subscriptions run $14.99 per month. There’s a Student option at an identical price point of $4.99 per month.
Like Spotify, Apple Music’s Family subscription supports up to six unique accounts.
Family sharing goes through Apple’s family system. This can make it more difficult to share with strangers relative to Spotify, which has its own sharing setup.
Apple Music introduced a new Apple Music Voice subscription in October 2021. At just $4.99 per month, this is one of the cheapest ways to access audio streaming in 2022.
The drawback of this plan is that it only works through Siri. While you can still browse Apple Music and access previews, you have to ask Siri to play the full version.
7. Amazon Music
Amazon Music has been around for nearly 15 years, but it hasn’t had quite the same success as Spotify or Apple Music.
Like Prime Video, Amazon Music’s subscriber count includes all Prime members. Current estimates suggest that about 50 million people actively listen to Amazon Music. This puts it shortly behind Apple Music’s figure of 78 million.
While Amazon Music Prime comes with Amazon Prime itself, there are also a few other subscription options. Keep in mind that you can’t subscribe to Music Prime without a Prime membership.
Prime Music Unlimited costs $9.99 per month or $7.99 per month for Prime members. The key difference is that Music Unlimited comes with a much deeper library.
While Prime Music includes just two million songs, Music Unlimited brings that number up to 75 million. This means that Music Unlimited subscribers can access 35 times as much content.
Another major difference is that Music Unlimited unlocks additional voice commands.
Unsurprisingly, Amazon also provides a family tier that’s very similar to Apple Music and Spotify.
With six accounts for $14.99 per month, this offering is essentially identical to Apple Music’s family plan.
It’s hard to say exactly how many people subscribe to each streaming service at any given time.
That being said, these seven providers are clearly at or near the top of the list for active users.
Unfortunately, streaming can be expensive, especially if you subscribe to multiple services at the same time.
Basic individual subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and Disney Plus would add up to about $35 per month.
That works out to more than $400 over a full year. Understandably, most consumers don’t want to spend that much money just to stream shows and movies.
Sharing accounts is the best way to save money on your digital subscriptions.
Streaming services generally allow password sharing to a limited degree.
Disney Plus, for example, supports up to four streams at the same time. On the other hand, Hulu users can only stream on two different devices at once.
Gowd helps subscribers connect with people who want to share their accounts.
Whether you want to share your existing subscription or find a new one, check out our marketplace to see how much you could save on your favorite streaming services.