Quick, act surprised! There currently are more Netflix subscribers in America than there are cable TV buyers. That’s quite an achievement for the company that practically offers the best reason to cut the cord.
The cable-related data comes from Leichtman Research, and the numbers are undeniably impressive. In the first quarter, Netflix had 50.85 million subscribers compared to the 48.61 million people who still pay for a cable TV subscription. In addition to that, 33.19 million people have a satellite subscription. So Netflix isn’t bigger than pay-TV (cable and satellite combined), but it just beat cable TV.
The analysis says that major pay-TV providers lost some 410,000 subscribers during the period, compared to a gain of about 10,000 during the first quarter of the year. Most of those losses affected satellite TV services, although some 115,000 subscribers quit cable TV during the first quarter.
The report also mentions that internet-delivered pay-TV services including Sling TV and DirecTV Now gained 175,000 customers each during the quarter. That means pay-TV subscribers dropped by more than 750,000 users in the first quarter if you don’t count these two internet-only services.
That’s definitely not a huge surprise considering that cord-cutters find plenty of entertainment online to replace regular cable. Netflix is probably the main beneficiary, but there are plenty of other streaming services, including HBO Now, Hulu, and Amazon that actively contribute to the decline of cable TV.
Leichtman Research’s full report is available at this link.