For years, streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have been eating away at the cable television industry, as cord-cutters realize they can get much of the same content (and more) in affordable, convenient ways. Now that we all have screens in our pockets (and in our backpacks, briefcases, and purses), watching live TV has become a burden, with lots of our favorite shows available for instantaneous viewing.
On Wednesday, an article published by Statista reinforces the notion that Netflix could singlehandedly spell doom for the archaic cable paradigm. According to the chart, the DVD delivery service-turned-streaming heavyweight now boasts 50.9 million subscribers — more than the 48.6 million customers currently subscribed to major cable TV companies, per Leichtman Research Group (these “major cable TV companies” include Comcast, Charter, Altice, Mediacom, CableOne, and Cox, together making up 95 percent of the cable market).
Although that 48.6 million number does not include subscribers to satellite TV companies like Dish Network or internet TV services like Sling (in total, there are nearly 100 million subscribers to paid TV services), it still paints a vivid picture of the shifting entertainment landscape, as more and more viewers turn to streaming solutions for access to their favorite content. Curiously, Netflix’s rise seems to be largely self-sustained and not simply a product of cord-cutting: While Netflix’s subscription numbers have skyrocketed by 27 million since the first quarter of 2012, cable subscriptions have only dropped by 4 million in the same window, which is not catastrophic by any means.
It is possible that Netflix’s growth is partially due to its ever-growing library of Netflix Original shows and movies, many of which have earned critical acclaim, and none of which are available anywhere outside the platform. Given the staggering rate at which Netflix commissions new content (and the varied selection of actors and directors that have worked with the company), it is difficult to envision it slowing down anytime soon.