Worldwide Streaming Subscribers Surpass Cable Subscribers For First Time

For the first time, more people are subscribing to streaming online video services than traditional cable TV services worldwide. 

That is according to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which detailed the state of theatrical and home entertainment in its 2018 Theme Report.

The MPAA found that globally, subscriptions to online video services rose 27% between 2017 and 2018, to 613.3 million. That figure topped cable subscriptions, which numbered 556 million, for the first time.

In the U.S., the numbers skewed a bit closer.

The MPAA found more than 70% of U.S. homes watch TV and movies through streaming services, with 80% of homes watching through traditional pay-TV methods. With so many homes subscribing to multiple online streaming services, the number of subscriptions to those services outpaced traditional pay-TV offerings.

By the MPAA’s count, there are now more than 140 online offerings providing streaming movies and TV shows to consumers.

Overall, transactional home entertainment spend (i.e. buying DVDs or digital copies) was down 5% year over year, while subscription spending rose by 28% year over year.

The numbers are similar to the music industry from a few years ago, as streaming bundles, such as Spotify, skyrocket in popularity, ultimately shifting consumer spend from single song and album downloads to an all-you-can-eat subscription model.

The full report is here.

2 comments about "Worldwide Streaming Subscribers Surpass Cable Subscribers For First Time".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 25, 2019 at 7:16 a.m.

    The latest Nielsen published estimates for mid -2018 place the coverage of "pay TV" at 77% for basic cable fare and we estimate a decline to about 74%, currently, in an "Alert" report we will send shortly to "TV Dimensions 2019" subscribers. Nevertheless the amount of viewing that cable fare attracts continues to far surpass streaming TV show, video and movie consumption by a wide margin. So you must consider time spent, not just penetration when comparing the two methods of distribution.

  2. Peter Rosenwald from Consult Partners, March 25, 2019 at 12:57 p.m.

    Not surprising but valuable input. 

    Subscriptions to streaming and other services are on the rise because they give the consumer what he wants; choice and flexibility at good prices without the commitment so often connected with cable.

    Readers interested in more on this subject might find an article I wrote, published last week by Target Marketing. 

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