Streaming subscriptions surpassed cable worldwide in 2018


TechSpot Staff
Staff member

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) puts out an annual report, the ‘theatrical and home entertainment market environment’, or ‘THEME Report.’ Among the many topics covered, there’s an interesting section on in-home entertainment figures that illustrate how people worldwide are watching their favorite shows.

From 2017 to 2018 the number of subscriptions to online video services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu jumped by a massive 27%, increasing by 131.2 million subscriptions for a total of 613.3 million. While that jump is interesting by itself, the major achievement for the online giants is that they have toppled cable TV packages for the first time.

The MPAA report also offers some interesting context. The huge jump in online video subscriptions contrasts with a dip in the overall number of cable users. For the last four years, cable subscriptions have been consistently going down, as more and more people opt for ‘cable-cutting’. In the period of 2017 to 2018, a 2% drop meant that be the end of the year cable packages totalled 556 million.

Interestingly, cable still saw an increase in revenues, growing by $6.2 billion to $118 billion. So even with fewer people being subscribed to cable packages, total revenues still jumped by almost 6%. Cable still manages to hold the top spot for revenues for now, but the MPAA report indicates that streaming platforms are catching up, as they fast approach the $100 billion mark.

One point should be noted – according to the MPAA, most people have both a cable service and an online subscription. But this news that streaming has overtaken cable will no doubt be good news for anyone who only uses streaming platforms. If studios know that there’s a larger potential audience on Netflix or Amazon than there is on traditional cable channels, they have every incentive to make their best content available on those platforms.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
I don't see any real news here .... I'm just waiting for all the cable companies to drop cable and go to streaming ..... then we are all in trouble as they compete to see who can charge the highest prices .....


TS Evangelist
I would do it but being as rural as I am I use Exede. Thing is though it's mostly carap no matter where it from at least I would have to suffer 30 channels of selling me junk


TS Evangelist
I would do it but being as rural as I am I use Exede. Thing is though it's mostly carap no matter where it from at least I would have to suffer 30 channels of selling me junk
“If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world.”
-Noam Chomsky-


TS Evangelist
Honestly this isn't surprising at all what I'd like is a platform like netflix with all the current cable programs ready to watch at a click of a button rather than resorting to watching a fixed schedule.

Then again the problem is with all the programs available on netflix I end up browsing more than watching the actual stream so who knows.


TS Evangelist
The graph above doesn't look right! How can Online Subscription Video (OSV) and IPTV increase while Cable and Satellite remains constant?!

Unfortunately, OSV eats up you data fast on your ISP service especially if you have a 4K TV. In order to conserve your internet data for video steaming and other broadband tasks you need to replace your paid cable TV with free broadcast TV. I did that by installing a roof antenna to receive local ATSC channels....