MLB Streaming Service Hits Home Run17 Nov, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel
MLB.tv ranks fourth behind Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu Plus
The Major League Baseball season lasts about seven months. But that’s enough time for MLB.tv to rank fourth among the most-popular subscription streaming services in the United States, according to Parks Associates.
The Dallas-based research firm, citing consumer surveys, network traffic data, and service provider information, found the baseball streaming service tracked higher metrics than WWE Network, HBO Now, Crunchyroll, NFL Game Pass, The Blaze and Sling TV.
Parks said that more than 25% of the domestic OTT video services launched this year, while 40% were launched within the last two years.
“The number of new services and continued growth for many existing services show the vitality of the OTT video services market in the U.S.,” Brett Sappington, director of research for Parks Associates, said in a statement. “While Netflix holds a substantial lead, new and emerging OTT services are establishing their own place in the market.”
The research firm found that 58% of U.S. broadband households have used at least one OTT video service in the past 30 days. More than 25% of households used two or more OTT video services in the past 30 days, with 59% of households subscribing to an OTT video service subscription with a monthly fee.
While MLB doesn’t disclose actual subscriber data (Forbes reported the site and sister app At Bat generated 3.5 million out-of-market paid subs), WWE Network, which follows MLB.tv in total data metrics, according to Parks, recently disclosed it finished the most recent fiscal period with 1.2 million subscribers.
No. 1 Netflix, not surprisingly, leads the SVOD field by a wide margin with 43.1 million domestic subscribers. Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu Plus — the latter with 10 million subs — round out the top three.
Notable to MLB.tv (which costs $130 annually for the premium package) is that MLB Advanced Media licenses technology to WWE Network, The Blaze and HBO Now, while Hulu licenses infrastructure to third-party OTT services, including Shout TV.
"The market for OTT video services is just getting started. With several offering new, original content and Internet giants like Yahoo! purchasing broadcast rights to major sporting events [i.e. NFL telecast from London], more consumers will look to OTT video services in the future," Sappington said.