These days, when it comes to television, it seems there is clearly but one true king: Netflix. A pioneer in the field, Netflix utterly dominates competitors like Amazon and Hulu when it comes to number of subscribers, and gives even HBO Now a serious run for its money when it comes to quality of original programming. Hit shows like House of Cards, Stranger Things, and Daredevil have built Netflix into a full-on TV powerhouse, regularly earning Emmy nominations and widespread praise.
Not coincidentally, the rise of Netflix streaming has been closely linked to the steady decline in standard cable TV subscribers. The cord-cutting trend grows every single year, with more and more consumers growing fed up with things like hidden fees, equipment rental charges, and long-term contracts. While subscribing to multiple streaming services to get one’s TV fix can eventually add up to cable-like costs, the convenience of not having to rent physical equipment, and the ability to cancel at any time with no penalties still proves attractive to many.
According to a new report by Leichtman Research Group, 2017 seems to be shaping up as the year where the tide truly shifts away from cable’s favor and over to Netflix. According to the numbers released by Leitchman, cable TV has lost subscribers at an alarming rate. To put the loss in perspective, cable TV now adds up to 48.61 million subscribers, with the largest cable company, Comcast, grabbing about 22 million of those customers. Those numbers come in few million shy of Netflix’s 50.85 million in the U.S. alone.
When one expands their focus outside of strictly the United States, numbers for Netflix get even more impressive, as the service crossed the 100 million worldwide subscriber mark earlier this year. That means that over 1 percent of the world’s entire population of 7.5 billion subscribes to Netflix, which is one of those numbers that is likely to cause some to do a double take.
With the top six cable companies in the U.S. losing about 115,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2017 — and that trend looking to continue unabated as more people commit to cutting the cord — the push toward Netflix dominance seems likely to begin rolling even faster. While Netflix still has a ways to go before edging out traditional pay TV entirely — satellite services add an additional 33.2 million subscribers to the cable total, passing Netflix by — it seems like only a matter of time before this war hits a critical point.