Netflix Subscriber Base Equals Cable TV, According To New Report

stranger things eleven watching tv

Once upon a time, it was all but inconceivable that a streaming service could rival traditional cable packages for consumers. In recent years, however, Netflix has been climbing to the top of the competition. Netflix has been expanding its libraries of originals and existing shows at a time when more and more people are looking to cut cable cords and subscribe to services that are more convenient and possibly even less pricy. Now, one new report indicates that the Netflix base of subscribers equals that of cable TV.

This new report hails from the professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers, and it examines the rise of streaming as well as the decline of cable television among consumers. According to the report from PWC (via The Wrap), of the 2,000 people who were interviewed, 73% said that they subscribe to a traditional pay TV package, which is a 3% drop from the 2016 subscriber base of 76%. Of that same 2,000 people, 73% said that they subscribe to Netflix. The report also indicates that 46% of those who responded shed pay TV accounts in 2017 in favor of either cord-cutting entirely or cord-trimming certain accounts.

Of course, we shouldn't assume that the results obtained by PWC are 100% accurate about subscribers to Netflix vs. traditional cable. Only 2,000 people were surveyed in this instance, and it's possible that a larger sample size would yield different results. After all, Netflix added 850,000 subscribers in the U.S. during the last quarter of 2017 alone, with the total customer base reaching upward of 50 million. Combining U.S. subscribers with subscribers all over the world, Netflix can claim somewhere around 110 million accounts on the international scale. Still, the numbers from PWC point toward the continuation of the trend that has more and more people choosing the ease and convenience of Netflix over cable TV.

Interestingly, PricewaterhouseCoopers isn't the only company to state that Netflix is bigger than cable. A different report found that Netflix counted 50.85 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2017, whereas cable could only claim 48.61 million subscribers in the same period. Perhaps more damning from that report is the fact that the 48.61 million represents the combined subscriber bases of a number of private cable companies, not just one. The trend seems to be clear: Netflix is on the rise and cable is on the sharp decline. Unless something drastically changes in the not-too-distant future, cable is likely going to keep falling. After all, Netflix has been home to some of the biggest and most talked-about TV shows in recent memory.

Netflix has plenty of exciting shows set to debut in the new year, and you can find them on our schedule of 2018 Netflix premiere dates. If you're still connected to cable and broadcast TV, our 2018 midseason TV premiere guide can help you plan what to watch and when to watch it. Don't forget to swing by o ur rundown of 2017 TV cancellations as well.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).