Streaming Subscriptions Outnumber Cable Subscriptions for the First Time
Streaming/online video service subscriptions outnumbered cable subscriptions for the first time ever in 2018, according to the Motion Picture Association of America in its annual report, which was released Thursday.
Streaming subscriptions increased by 27 percent over the course of 2017, with 613 million subscriptions worldwide. Meanwhile, cable subscriptions dropped by two percent, to 556 million.
“In today’s dynamic marketplace, stories come to life for audiences in theaters, at home, and on the go,” said Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the MPAA in a statement. “Our companies continue to deliver content where, when, and how audiences want it – and the numbers released today speak volumes.”
The surge in the streaming market was just part of a 16 percent growth in home entertainment, which increased to a global gross of $55.7 billion.
In terms of cinematic entertainment, worldwide box office totals reached a record $41.1 billion in 2018. Yet, this is just a 1.2 percent increase over the course of 2017. “Global box office was essentially flat,” write IndieWire reporters Tom Brueggemann and Dana Harris.
One category in which there was no improvement was 3D ticket sales. 3D film accounted for only 16 percent of total global gross in 2018, with sales of $6.7 billion. This is a 20 percent decrease from 3D’s 2017 global gross of $8.4 billion.
A core reason consumers are ditching cable for video streaming is that streaming allows the audience to watch movies and shows not available anywhere else. Fifty-seven percent of streaming service consumers subscribed to access original content, according to new research from Deloitte.
Netflix launched in 1997 as a DVD rental company. Reed Hastings, one of Netflix’s co-founders, had an idea for a streaming service as early as 2000, and approached Blockbuster several times about Netflix being Blockbuster’s streaming service. Blockbuster refused each time, and Netflix launched its own streaming service in 2007. Although the streaming service Blockbuster eventually launched lacked Netflix’s success, Hastings has said that if it were launched just two years earlier, Blockbuster could have put Netflix out of business. Hulu later launched in the United States in 2008.