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Leading SVOD services show viewing time declines

In its Subscription Video Track Media Summary for September 2021, the analyst tracked viewing hours of the big three – namely Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video – and found that total streaming hours watched on the services declined 14% on all three platforms (down 12%, 19%, 21%, respectively) compared with August 2021.

The analyst said that this was likely due to kids viewing declines as they returned to school. Netflix accounted for almost 80% of total hours watched (78%) while Hulu made up 13% and Prime Video made up 9%. Netflix series made up the entirety of the top 15 series and movies, led by new Netflix original series Squid Game and Clickbait and new seasons of older series Lucifer, The Circle, Sex Education and Money Heist. The first non-Netflix series on the list was season 1 of Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers at #16.

Drilling down into the individual platforms, NPD found that in September 2021 Netflix viewing hours were down 19% year-on-year in addition to the 12% month-on-month fall. The analyst said that this was possibly driven by kids returning to school, as seen in viewing among households with kids declining faster than total. However, on 17 September Netflix unleashed Squid Game and within its first two weeks on the platform, the title made up almost double the number of hours as the #2 series, Clickbait. Subsequent seasons of other Netflix original series made up a majority of the top five: season 6 of urban fantasy series, Lucifer, season 3 of social media reality series, The Circle, and season 3 of British dramedy, Sex Education. These three series all released in September and were viewed for 217 million hours collectively in the month. Two Netflix original movies also debuted in September and made it in the top 5 movies watched for the month.

While hours watched on Disney-owned Hulu were down month-on-month, they rose 31% on an annual basis, driven by top original series Nine Perfect Strangers, and the movie Vacation Friends. Nine Perfect Strangers debuted with three episodes on 18 August, and the remaining five episodes released weekly through 22 September, racking up 21 million hours watched in September. Non-original series such as the two newest seasons of ABC 20/20, and the new seasons of American Horror Story, and 911 made up the rest of the top five series watched in September. The #1 movie in September, Vacation Friends, was watched for a total of 1.5 million hours, about a third of the total hours watched among the top five movies. Horror film Stephen King’s It was the #3 movie watched in the month as we headed into Halloween season. Family friendly movies Shrek, Shrek 2, and Shark Tale rounded out the top five.

Lastly, the Subscription Video Track Media SummarySubscription Video Track Media Summary for September 2021 found that four of the top five series on Amazon Prime Video were originals, led by season 1 of LuLaRich. The four-episode series debuted on 10 September and accounted for 40% (11 million) of the hours watched among the top five most watched series on the service. Sequel seasons of other Prime originals were also in the top five, including seasons 3 and 4 of Goliath (the latter debuted on 245 September), and season 2 of The Boys. For movies, Prime original film Cinderella, which released on the service on 3 September, was watched for 11 million hours in September, the same amount of time as the top series. Three other Prime originals made the top 5 this month. Rapid TV News

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