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A change in television that has been apparent for some time is becoming unavoidably evident. Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services are changing TV as we knew it, as new numbers indicate that the streaming world is gushing. That continuing reality is coming to us thanks to some new statistics that are now reaching the United Kingdom. The number of subscriptions to streaming has overtaken traditional pay TV in the U.K.
The data puts the margin between streaming and pay-TV subscriptions as considerable, albeit far from stratospheric. Subscriptions to the streaming platforms, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sky plc's streaming service Now TV tallied in at 15.4 million in 2018's first quarter. In comparison, traditional pay TV came in with 15.1 million. This new data has come from Ofcom, a media regulator, which also reported some more illuminating news, per Variety. Pay TV has also seen the end to a years-long streak of persistent growth with a drop in revenue.
These new numbers put the future of streaming into even greater focus. With the U.K. experiencing this kind of shift, it is feasible to estimate that the U.S. may not be far behind. While these new numbers put streaming at the forefront, pay TV is not that far behind, though that gap could widen with time. With both platforms offering content viewers are interested in, it is possible that consumers could subscribe to both.
The statistics did show a decline in viewers of broadcast television with viewership taking a 4.2% hit. While that percentage sounds alarming at first, it only meant a nine-minute reduction in the time spent watching traditional TV. That decline was not attributed to a lack of interest in television content in general, just the platform through which the medium was consumed.
Streaming is arguably the future. When Walmart is reportedly considering getting in on the action, that is a pretty telling sign, this is not a trend. It is a long-term investment, and network television is already feeling the competitive heat from its streaming rivals. With Netflix showing the potential to outspend every network combined in four short years that temperature is only set to rise higher. While streamers are investing in the future, it is up to subscribers to follow suit.