Online Video Subscriptions Surpass Cable for First Time in 2018

WASHINGTON—There is a new leader in the clubhouse when it comes to the most popular video service for consumers across the globe, as a report from the Motion Picture Association of America indicates that online video services overtook cable subscriptions for the first time in 2018.

Online video services, like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, saw gains of 131.2 million subscribers throughout the world in 2018, a 27 percent increase from 2017. That brings its world-wide total to 613.3 million subscribers, 186.9 million of which are in the U.S. Cable, meanwhile, saw a slight decrease of about 2 percent to 556 million; the U.S. total saw a slight dip, but still remained around 50 million subscribers.

Since 2014, online video subscriptions have seen the largest amount of growth among all the pay TV options. As of 2014, online video services had around 150 million subscribers, per MPAA’s findings. Cable, satellite, DTT and other third-party premiums saw either no significant growth or decreases in its subscription numbers over the same time period. IPTV is the only other service that has seen a solid uptick, but it remains under 300 million subscribers.

Despite the decrease, cable remains the top revenue generator among the services, and in fact saw an increase of $6.2 billion in total revenue for 2018, bringing it to $118 billion in 2018. Online video subscriptions are well behind, generating just under $40 billion according to the MPAA report.

The MPAA report counted households that have more than one type of video service in each of the categories to which they subscribe.

See the full report from MPAA here.