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For the First Time Ever, More People are Streaming TV Than Watching Cable as the Revolution Continues

For the First Time Ever, More People are Streaming TV Than Watching Cable as the Revolution Continues

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Aug. 19 2022, Published 1:53 p.m. ET

The world is changing day by day. What used to be staples in American life, time in the theater and cable TV, are now becoming quaint relics of the past.

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The theater industry has been struggling mightily since the start of the pandemic, but cable TV was still a big part of the American way - until July 2022, anyway. Last month for the first time ever, more people streamed their entertainment than watched it on cable. What does this mean for the future of home entertainment?

People are Streaming TV Now and Cutting the Cable Cord

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Snip snip, cable companies are trembling at the sound of people cutting the cord all across the nation as they turn from their expensive cable.

Now, people can pay for just the focused services they use and enjoy - at $7-$15 a pop on average - instead of paying for bundles that quickly add up to $100-$300.

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It was bound to happen eventually, but it's still momentous to watch happen. Nielson recorded the shift.

CNN Business reports, "In July, streaming amounted to 34.8% in the share of total TV consumption, a growth of nearly 23% within the past year. Cable and broadcast viewership both dropped year over year, with the former amounting to 34.4% and the latter making up just 21.6%. Both fell around 10% compared to July 2021.

Nielsen notes streaming has surpassed broadcast before, but its the 'first time it has also exceeded cable viewing.' Netflix, Hulu and YouTube also captured record-high shares, with Netflix (NFLX) being the biggest streaming platform thanks to 'Stranger Things' new season."

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The point about Netflix being the largest Streaming Video On Demand (SVOD) service in July is noteworthy, because the original subscription movie service has been struggling to keep up with competitors like Prime Video and Disney+.

How Does This Track with Netflix and Disney+'s Subscriber Drops?

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But it's not uncommon for platforms like Netflix to receive a temporary boost in viewership and subscribers when big name original content hits home screens, and then for it to level off again.

Netflix has been posting losses in recent months that signal that competitors may be getting an edge over the OG.

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Disney+ also posted a subscriber loss this year, but it was smaller than expected - leading company leaders to celebrate the unexpected windfall.

But what does all of this mean for the future of cable and entertainment as a whole? It's not surprising that people are leaving their costly cable behind and turning to streaming. As platforms begin to absorb more cable content, and SVOD platforms like Hulu turn episodes around from cable TV in realtime, there's very little advantage to holding onto a cable subscription.

Cable isn't likely to disappear overnight, so if you're fond of your Xfinity box don't panic yet. But down the road, people will likely receive most or all of their entertainment through their internet instead - it's one of those shifts in society that's slowly coming but few are paying attention to. It's a good thing for lovers of the SVOD experience; more focus on streaming means more competition, more content, and better price competition for customers.

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