Online streaming service Netflix now counts more paid subscribers than the largest American cable television providers put together, a report has revealed.
According to the Daily Mail, a study conducted by the Leichtman Research Group has found that in the first quarter of 2017, Netflix had 50.9 million paying subscribers, compared to 48.6 million subscribers to America’s largest cable providers, which together comprise approximately 95 percent of the market.
Since 2012, subscriptions to cable television have reportedly fallen from 52.6 million to 48.6 million, while Netflix subscriptions have more than doubled in the same time period, from 23.4 million to 50.85 million.
“The pay-TV market lost about 410,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2017. This marked the first time that the industry has ever had net subscriber losses in the first quarter of a year,” Bruce Leichtman, principal analyst at the Leichtman Research Group, told the Daily Mail.
“This decline in subscribers should not be interpreted as solely driven by a sudden increase in consumers disconnecting services. The net losses are also a function of a decrease in new connects, partially due to some providers less aggressively pursuing lower value customers than in the past,” he added.
The shift toward streaming comes amidst rising prices for cable television, with some packages costing upwards of $200 per month. Meanwhile, Netflix has consolidated its customer base with the release of popular exclusive series such as Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and 13 Reasons Why.
The streaming giant has also shelled out gigantic sums to acquire buzzy, star-studded films, including the Brad Pitt-starring War Machine and the Will Smith sci-fi thriller Bright. Netflix reportedly spent $90 million to acquire the latter film, which is directed by End of Watch and Suicide Squad helmer David Ayer.
Currently, 9 out of the 10 most in-demand online television series are reportedly produced by Netflix, while one is produced by the streaming service Hulu.
Earlier this week, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Facebook is considering entering the online streaming market, with plans to revive the series MTV Loosely Exactly Nicole, which was canceled after one season for low ratings.
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