Streaming subscriptions overtook cable in 2018

Published March 25th, 2019

For the first time ever, global subscriptions to online video services surpassed cable subscriptions in 2018, according to IHS Markit research cited in the Motion Picture Association of America’s “2018 THEME Report.

The MPAA report citing IHS Markit data has shown that there were more subscriptions worldwide to online video services (613.3 million) than there were for cable (556 million) in 2018, reflecting a 27 percent jump in streaming over 2017. Cable subscriptions dropped two percent in that period. IP-based TV overtook satellite, too, indicating a larger overall shift to the digital realm.

The annual report covers both the home and theatrical entertainment markets (THEME stands for “Theatrical and Home Entertainment Market Environment”).The data in the report also indicated that people were spending more on digital video at home than trips to the theater. While theatrical spending did grow ever so slightly in 2018 to $41.1 billion, people around the world spent a total of $42.6 billion on streaming, downloads and video-on-demand. Discs, meanwhile, declined to $13.1 billion — just over half of what it was back in 2014. Spending on physical media is down 48% since 2014, while digital spending has increased by 170% in the same period, according to IHS Markit and Digital Entertainment Group research cited in the report.
Cable and satellite are still larger than streaming when combined. More importantly, cable and satellite are still the most lucrative in terms of sheer revenue, if not necessarily profit. Cable’s influx of cash grew $6.2 billion in 2018 to reach $118 billion, suggesting that those people who did stick with cable were paying more than ever. The MPAA added that most of those who were subscribing to internet services also had conventional TV, suggesting that the number of cord cutters isn’t as large as you might think.
These are nonetheless major milestones for internet video. It’s now the most popular individual TV format in terms of sheer subscriptions, and companies wanting the widest possible reach might have to pay attention.

24i Media has been helping global brands design, create and launch innovative video streaming apps across all devices and platforms since 2009. If you need some help to create or update your online video service, we’d be happy to discuss how we can help you launch video streaming apps people love to use. Contact us today to learn more.

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