Young woman choosing from the top AVOD providers on a virtual screen.
Ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) providers are gaining ground on traditional subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming services. Six AVOD providers are leading the pack today. Do you know who they are and why they’re increasingly popular? When it comes to dedicating advertising dollars, it pays to know which AVOD providers are the biggest, and why.
AVOD providers are gaining ground on traditional SVOD streaming services.
In terms of advertising revenue, the top five AVOD providers are Hulu, Peacock, The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, and Tubi.
In terms of viewership, the top five AVOD providers are The Roku Channel, Hulu, HBO Max, Pluto TV, and Tubi.
What’s Happening with Ad-Supported Video-on-Demand?
AVOD refers to streaming video services that include ads. Some AVOD services are completely free to viewers, while others charge a small monthly subscription fee. All are lower-priced than competing subscription-based services such as Netflix and Disney+.
AVOD streaming video is growing astronomically. Insider Intelligence projects that in 2023, AVOD providers will gain more than three times the number of viewers than will SVOD services. AVOD services will add over 13.3 million viewers in the U.S. alone, while SVOD services will gain only 4.3 million.
The reason for this shift from SVOD to AVOD is subscription fatigue. As viewers face an increasing number of subscription streaming services, they find that they don’t want to or can’t afford to subscribe to all. So, viewers are canceling their subscriptions and turning to free or low-cost ad-supported services.
Ranking the Top AVOD Providers of 2023
The top AVOD providers can be ranked in terms of either number of viewers or revenue generated. The results differ subtly.
In terms of revenues, Statista ranks the top AVOD providers as follows:
Hulu ($5.1 billion)
Peacock ($2.2 billion)
The Roku Channel ($1.9 billion)
Pluto TV ($1.7 billion)
Tubi ($1.1 billion)
HBO Max ($0.7 billion)
Top AVOD providers by revenue
In terms of viewers, as reported by the providers themselves, the top services are:
The Roku Channel (100 million viewers)
Hulu (99.7 million)
HBO Max (79.1 million)
Pluto TV (78.5 million)
Tubi (64 million)
Peacock (60 million)
Top AVOD providers by viewers
Hulu, majority owned by The Walt Disney Company, stands out as the biggest AVOD provider in terms of ad revenues. It’s expected to generate $5.1 billion in revenue this year, more than double any other ad-supported streaming service.
In terms of viewers, Hulu is the number-two provider, just a hair behind The Roku Channel with 99.7 million viewers. That’s still considerably larger than its other competitors.
Hulu operates as a hybrid streaming service. It offers ad-supported content for $7.99 per month and the same content in an ad-free premium tier for $14.99 per month. It also offers a linear service, Hulu + Live TV, starting at a $69.99 monthly subscription price.
According to MediaRadar, Hulu’s AVOD tier runs about 12 ads per hour in its original programming and 13.8 ads per hour in its licensed content. Viewers cannot skip these ads, which is a plus for advertisers.
Hulu’s ad-supported tier offers programming from Disney properties, including the ABC network, as well as content licensed from other producers. It’s long been known as the place to watch current major network broadcasting with a day or two delay.
The Roku Channel
The Roku Channel is the first AVOD provider not associated with a major media company. Unlike Hulu and Peacock, The Roku Channel is completely free. All of its revenues come from advertising, not subscription fees.
In terms of viewers, The Roku Channel takes the top position with 100 million viewers in Q4 of 2022, a significant 25% increase from the 80 million viewers it reported the previous year.
In terms of ad revenues, The Roku Channel is a solid number three, with $1.9 million in revenues. If its viewership continues to grow at current rates, The Roku Channel could surpass Peacock, the second-place holder, in revenues by the end of 2023.
Originally offered as a service to owners of its Roku streaming media players, The Roku Channel has expanded and is now available on most streaming platforms, including streaming players and connected TVs (CTVs). It offers a mix of programming licensed from both major and minor networks and studios.
Peacock, owned by Comcast/NBC/Universal, ranks second in advertising revenues but sixth in viewership. In 2023, Peacock is expected to generate $2.2 billion in advertising revenues but only boasts about 60 million viewers. The service offers an ad-supported Premium plan for $4.99 per month and an ad-free Premium Plus plan for $9.99 per month.
Peacock, not surprisingly, is the home of programming from the NBC broadcasting network as well as original content produced for streaming. It’s also the exclusive home of perennial streaming favorites The Office, 30 Rock, and Parks and Recreation.
Pluto TV is the number-four AVOD provider in terms of both ad revenues and viewers. It’s expected to generate $1.7 billion in revenue with 78.5 million viewers.
Pluto TV, owned by Viacom, is much like The Roku Channel in terms of content. It also offers linear free ad-supported TV (FAST) content via genre-oriented channels on an easy-to-use program guide.
Tubi holds down the number-five position in terms of both ad revenues ($1.1 billion) and viewers (64 million). It’s much like Pluto TV and the Roku Channel, with content from a variety of sources. The Fox Corporation owns Tubi.
Max, formerly known as HBO Max, holds down the number-three position in terms of viewers with 79.1 million but trails its competition with just $0.7 billion in advertising revenue. It’s much like Hulu but offers a three-tier approach: With Ads ($9.99 per month), Ad-Free ($15.99 per month), and Ultimate Ad-Free (with higher quality picture and sound, $19.99 per month). Max’s former parent, WarnerMedia, was recently acquired by Discovery, Inc., and the new parent has folded in some of its Discovery Plus content into the newly renamed Max service.
5 Most Common Questions About Max
Other AVOD Providers
The increasing popularity of AVOD services has inspired several new competitors to enter the market. Almost every major SVOD service now offers either a lower-priced ad-supported tier or a separate free AVOD service. The biggest of these other players include:
Crackle, a free offering from Sony Picture Television and Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment
Disney+, with a lower-priced ad-supported tier
Freevee, a free offering from Amazon
Netflix, with a lower-priced ad-supported tier
Paramount+, with a lower-priced ad-supported tier
Penthera Helps AVOD Providers Maximize Ad Revenues
With the growth in AVOD services comes increasing competition for ad dollars. AVOD providers need to maximize their ad revenues just as advertisers want to maximize their ad spend.
The solution for both providers and advertisers is Penthera’s 2nd Look solution. 2nd Look provides real-time ad decisioning that increases fill rates for providers and delivers more targeted audiences to advertisers. It’s the right approach for an increasingly crowded streaming video ad market.
Contact Penthera today to learn more about maximizing AVOD ad revenues.