Netflix vs. Disney+ vs. Prime Video vs. HBO Max: Who's Winning the Streaming Wars?


These days, whenever there’s any big get-together with family, friends, or co-workers, talk eventually gravitates to what people are watching on TV. While free TV is still king for a vast majority of viewers in the country, streaming services have certainly made its mark on Filipinos’ viewing habits, especially over the last two years. 

The pandemic had a lot to do with it. According to Statista, there were roughly around 6.4 million Filipinos subscribed to a video streaming service as of the end of 2021. That number could have only increased last year.

In addition, Statista estimates that of Filipino internet users between 16 and 64 years old, over 98 percent used a video streaming subscription service as of April 2022.

“Such media service platforms were increasingly popular due to their affordable and accessible content, thus transforming the way most internet users consume digital content,” Statista says.

But with the increasing number of video streaming services, we wonder, which one is actually “winning?”

We take a look at the streaming industry based on four factors: market share, number of subscribers, earnings, and content.


The Best TV Shows of 2023

The 10 Most-Watched Netflix Shows and Movies of 2022

Market share

Photo by Warren Espejo.

No surprise, the OG on-demand video service, Netflix dominated streaming in the Philippines, with a commanding 31 percent market share according to Statista, followed by iflix at 21 percent. Amazon Prime Video (14 percent), HBO Go (nine percent), Viu (eight percent) and hayu (seven percent) bring up the rear, with another 10 percent going to Others, which likely includes relatively smaller or lesser known services such as Vivamax, Lionsgate Play, Apple TV+, and Discovery+. 

However, keep in mind that the data is accurate only as of the first quarter of 2022. This means Disney Plus, which finally entered the country in November 2022, had yet to be taken into account.

Number of subscribers

In terms of number of subscribers worldwide, Netflix is still tops, reporting 223.09 million as of the third quarter of 2022.

However, remember that the big news in streaming last year was Netflix’s revelation that it had actually lost about one million subscribers, from 221.64 million to 220.67 million in the second quarter of 2022. It was the first time that Netflix reported a drop in the number of subscribers in the last 10 years.

Netflix was able to arrest that decline by the third quarter, ostensibly after instituting two major changes to its subscription model: introducing a lower-priced but ad-supported subscription tier, as well as cracking down on password-sharing, both of which likely encouraged more people to sign up to the service. 

In second place is Amazon Prime Video, which reported total global subscribers at 200 million in during its last shareholder letter in 2022.

Disney Plus ranks third, with 164.2 million subscribers as of 4Q 2022, up 12 million from 152.1 million subscribers in the previous quarter. Disney Plus has yet to disclose how many sign-ups it has had in the country since becoming available here in November 2022.

watch now

It’s interesting to note, however, that last year, Disney announced that it had taken over the crown from Netflix as the service with the most number of subscribers in the world, with 235.7 million. But, to clarify, they also added the subscribers from two other streamers: Hulu and ESPN, which are bundled together in many markets around the world. Separately, Hulu (which is yet to be made available in the Philippines) ranks fifth with 46 million subscribers, and ESPN is at seventh with 24 million. 

Fourth place goes to HBO Max (which is available in the Philippines as HBO Go) with 92 million, sixth place is Paramount Plus (not available in the Philippines, unless you use a VPN) at 43 million, and Peacock (also not yet available in the Philippines) is at eighth place with 13 million.


When it comes to Netflix, investors’ focus was on getting new subscribers to sign up (see above), but it did report healthy revenue figures as well. As of 3Q 2022 (the latest available data), Netflix reported global revenues of $7.93 billion, up 5.9 percent year-on-year, although net income fell to $1.4 billion.

Over at Disney, its streaming service reportedly brought in revenues of $7.4 billion in 2022, up from $5.2 billion in 2021 and $2.8 billion in 2020. That said, in the grand scheme of things, Disney Plus has actually yet to turn a profit for Disney as a whole, although the powers-that-be are targeting profitability for Disney Plus in as early as 2024.

Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video—and, somewhat similarly Apple TV+—is a bit of an outlier as business analysts believe Amazon is only using its streaming service to attract more members to sign up for its main moneymaking machine, Prime. Still, Prime Video is no slouch and has built up quite impressive numbers over the years. There’s no available data on just how much Amazon Prime Video brings in to the company, but estimates claim at least $30 billion annually. Big numbers, but, for comparison, Amazon as a whole reported net sales of $127.1 billion in the 3Q of 2022 alone.


HBO as a whole reported revenues of $7.1 billion in 2021, up 27 percent from $6.7 billion a year ago. And according to this report, a large chunk of that comes from its streaming service HBO Max. 


This is where it gets interesting, and also tricky. It’s hard to quantify who’s exactly winning the streaming wars when you’re talking about the content they produce. In terms of just numbers, Netflix seems to take the crown again. In October 2022, Forbes reported that Netflix released a total of 1,024 episodes of original TV content in the third quarter of 2022 alone. It cited a report by research firm MoffettNathanon, and said the number is more than five times that of any other streaming service. By comparison, Amazon Prime Video had 223 episodes, Hulu had 194, Disney+ had 140 episodes, and HBO Max had 114. 

What about in terms of quality? If we’re basing it off of the Emmys, the TV industry’s most prestigious awards-giving body, HBO is leaving the competition in the dust. HBO has consistently garnered the most Emmy nominations out of all the streaming services since at least 2019. 

In 2022, the home of Game of Thrones and Succession scored a total of 140 nominations, while Netflix came in second with 105 nominations. Hulu was third with 58, Apple Tv+ next at 51, followed by Amazon Prime Video with 30, and Disney+ bringing up the rear at 34.

It's also worth noting just how much the streamers are spending on content over the last few years. Netflix is estimated to have spent $17 billion for content in 2022, about the same as the previous year (and most likely the same amount this year). That amount went to certified hits such as new seasons of Bridgerton, Stranger Things, and Ozark, as well as newer titles like Inventing Anna, and Wednesday, which Netflix said is its latest series to hit one billion hours of viewership in its first month alone.

But Netflix’s content budget is dwarfed by that of Disney’s, which various estimates project to have reached about $33 billion in 2022, up from $24 billion in 2018.

Amazon Prime Video spent $13 billion in 2021 for video and music content, and estimated to have spent $15 billion in 2022, including the roughly $715 million total it plunked down to produce Rings of Power, which is now the most expensive TV program ever. 

HBO, meanwhile, announced earlier in 2022 that it planned to spend about $18 billion on content last year, although that amount is spread over its verticals HBO and HBO Max, CNN, and Warner Bros. Studio.

The real winner?

So, with all of this in mind, who really is winning the streaming wars? We want to say that it’s us, the consumers and subscribers who are ultimately benefiting from these companies fighting to get our precious commitment (and money) to sign-up (and not cancel our subscriptions), but that might be a bit premature.

Insiders say all of the biggest streamers, including Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO Max are streamlining their operations and are putting a cap on spending this 2023 in order to finally make their businesses more profitable instead of just really, really popular. (Remember Warner Bros CEO David Zaslav canceling Westworld and the Batgirl movie?) 


That means we might have seen the end of streamers throwing cash at everything and seeing what sticks, and the start of more prudent and conservative spending. After all, in the end, these companies will have to answer to their investors and shareholders, moreso than us, the viewers.

More Videos You Can Watch
About The Author
Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
View Other Articles From PJ
Latest Feed
Load More Articles
Connect With Us