It has been on the horizon for a while and has finally happened. There are now more subscribers worldwide for web streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Video, than cable TV, satellite and DTH connections. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in its annual report for 2018 says that ‘cable-cutting’ as a concept is now very much a reality.
The MPAA’s Theatrical and Home Entertainment Market Environment (THEME) report suggests that the subscriptions for online video streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu touched 613.3 million globally, which is a 27 percent increase over the year before—and that translates into 131.2 million more subscribers. This is the first time that streaming services have outdone traditional cable TV globally. In contrast, cable TV subscriptions dropped to 556 million globally, which is a 2 percent drop over 2017.
Incidentally, despite lesser number of people subscribing to cable TV, the revenues still grew by $6.2 billion, clocking in at $118 billion for the year.
As things stand, chances are that a lot of cable TV users have also signed up for online video streaming services and are keeping both for the moment. This report though would give more confidence to studios to prioritize content on streaming services over cable TV, which could lead to many dual subscribers switch off the cable for good. This is still a transition in progress, but one that really only has one clear winner—streaming services.