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Hint: The leader has more than 70 million paid users

On Wednesday, HBO CEO Richard Plepler said his HBO Now streaming video on demand service has “about 800,000” paying subscribers. Those come in addition to the viewers who watch HBO on an ancient platform known as TV.

We figured this was as good a time as any to update comparisons among the existing streaming options. So here they are, with pretty pictures and variably pretty statistics:

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Like Plepler said, the SVOD option for HBO currently has “about” 800,000 paying subscribers after eight months of existence. That’s a lower figure than Wall Street analysts wanted to see, but the service has yet to land on Xbox and PlayStation platforms. The two video game consoles account for about 20 percent of sister app HBO Go’s viewing.

Of course, HBO and Cinemax still do the vast majority of their business on cable — which people in the industry call “linear” viewing, a term that also applies to broadcast TV. A person with knowledge of the numbers told TheWrap that combined totals between the two channels are “approaching 50 million domestic” subscribers. Add in 81 million more paid users internationally, and one can understand why parent company Time Warner appreciates the traditional model.

Read more details on the current state of HBO Now here.

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Right around the previous television upfronts season, Hulu revealed that it had about 9 million paying subscribers. However, a lot has happened since April 2015, and we don’t just mean a long 10 months passing.

Since that number, Hulu has not only added a ton of content, it’s changed subscription options. The 9 million count came about at a time when the service only offered an -per-month plan, with which subscribers still had to watch commercials. In September, Hulu rolled out a monthly subscription option that removes the ads.

The company plans to publicly update its subscriber total sometime this year, but all Hulu told TheWrap today was, “Our subscriber base has continued to grow since then.”

It’s important to note here that Hulu is only meaningfully active in the United States, unlike …

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House of Cards Netflix


The big boy of them all, Netflix boasts a massive 70.1 million paid subscriptions worldwide. In the U.S., the company’s 43.4 million paid subscribers is pushing five-times Hulu’s count.

Netflix still does not release viewership information, though it claims “Orange Is the New Black” would be the top show across pay-TV if it did. San Francisco-based Symphony Advanced Media has claimed it can accurately measure Netflix’s viewing, and that the numbers aren’t nearly as impressive as Ted Sarandos and Reed Hastings would like us all to believe. Those two guys say the claim — and Symphony A.M.’s data — is hogwash.

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Amazon Prime

Amazon keeps a lid on its figures too, though it has thrown around the phrase “tens of millions” in the past. That said, many — or probably most — of Amazon’s Prime subscribers don’t even watch the TV shows and movies. They just want free two-day shipping on paper towels.

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CBS All Access

Last March, CBS Chairman Les Moonves sort of gave guidance about how many subscribers CBS All Access has. While he would not talk statistics, when asked if his streaming option had more subscribers than the roughly 100,000 reported for Dish’s Sling service at the time, Moonves affirmed that it definitely did. He went no further than that, and several analysts took the tone of his quick confirmation to mean that All Access was well above Sling’s 100,000 benchmark.

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Sling TV

Sling TV

Which brings us to Sling, which had a company reported 169,000 subscribers by the end of March. That was the last time Dish shared its figures. However, through a little third-party reverse engineering-style mathematics, reported in December that Sling was up to about 400,000 subscribers — but definitely below 500,000.

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The Mysteries

Showtime, Red and Playstation Vue have not shared subscriber numbers.

  • Before we go any further, we gotta ask: Have you seen "Making a Murderer" yet? If the answer is "no," then what are you waiting for? Watch the trailer to get an idea of what all the hype is about.

  • "The True Cost" (2015): This deep dive into the fashion industry not only exposes the deadly cost of cheap clothing, it shows just how little executives at some of the most successful companies capitalizing on foreign labor care about it. Even more upsetting, though, is the uphill and seemingly hopeless battle workers in poor countries are facing for working conditions Americans take for granted.

  • "The Race to Nowhere" (2010): Remember what it was like to be a kid without any responsibilities? Lucky you, because this documentary exposes a sad reality that grade-school students across the country are bombarded with so much homework and pressure to prepare for college before they even hit high school that they're already as stressed out as working adults. And some of them end up taking their own lives as a result.

  • "Kids for Cash" (2013): Prepare to be even more disgusted with the criminal justice system, as this film details the disturbing decision of a once-celebrated judge to sentence kids to outrageously long juvenile detention sentences in exchange for money from the private company building the detention center.

  • "Divorce Corp." (2014): As if the criminal justice system hasn't failed enough Americans, this documentary makes family law seem downright criminal. After watching this terrifying exposé on how the big business of divorce ruins the lives of parents and children caught in the crossfire, you'll think twice about ever popping the question.

  • "The Farm: Angola, USA" (1998): This doc chronicles the lives of several inmates inside the nation's largest prison. While some of them were guilty of their crime, it's heartbreaking to see one who swears he's innocent show a parole board evidence to support his claim, only to have them promptly disregard it.

  • "Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father" (2008): This heartbreaking film focuses on an unbelievable custody battle between a murdered man's parents and the ex-girlfriend who took their son's life, while pregnant with their grandchild. One would think this strange scenario would be an easy decision for a judge, but get ready to get angry.

  • "Fed Up" (2014): The tragedy Katie Couric's voiceover presents in this documentary isn't just that both the government and food industry place profit above public health, it's the realization that even those parents who are actually concerned about their children's poor diet have no idea how to eat healthy themselves.

  • "The Central Park Five" (2012): Not all that different from the story presented in "Making a Murderer," documentarian Ken Burns examines the 1989 case of five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park, and spent between six and 13 years in prison before a serial rapist confessed.

  • "Terms and Conditions May Apply" (2013): This frightening film actually takes the time to examine what you're agreeing to when you sign up for services like iTunes and Facebook. Long story short, you're giving up your privacy, and as this film proves, the data can and will be used against you.

  • "How to Survive a Plague" (2012): This Oscar-nominated documentary will make your blood boil when you see how the American government and members of the medical community turned their backs on homosexuals and HIV patients during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. Thanks to the tireless efforts of groups like ACT UP and TAG, the country has made substantial progress on the issue, but remember this battle when society inevitably finds another population to stigmatize and stand up before it's too late.

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The best documentaries are enlightening, infuriating and sometimes even frightening — “Making a Murderer” certainly was. But if you’ve finished all 10 episodes of the true-crime saga, check out these docs currently streaming

Before we go any further, we gotta ask: Have you seen "Making a Murderer" yet? If the answer is "no," then what are you waiting for? Watch the trailer to get an idea of what all the hype is about.

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