updated 02:29 pm EST, Mon January 20, 2014
Streaming video on demand subscribers continue to rise
Streaming video services such as Netflix and Hulu could in some cases be eroding the customer base of premium television broadcasters, according to a new report. NPD Group figures for the period between March 2012 and August 2013 show that the number of subscribers to HBO, Showtime, and other channels have dropped from 38 percent of US households to 32 percent.
During the same period of time, the percentage of subscribers to services including Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and others have gone from 23 percent to 27 percent, an increase of four percent. Variety notes that, despite the apparent appearance of cause and effect, the data provided by NPD relates to the number of customers, and did not ask if households unsubscribed from cable services in favor of online streaming.
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NPD analyst Russ Crupnick speculated that some of the subscribers shifted between the two paid-TV systems, forgoing one in favor of the other. "As SVOD (streaming video on demand) increasingly strives to become a channel itself, viewers might consider it to be an adequate substitution for other premium channels, or perhaps they are switching to economize on their time and money spent."
Despite the lower figures, Showtime revealed it had grown the subscriber figures in 2013 from 22 million to 23 million, with HBO also maintaining subscribers at 28 million. By comparison, Netflix achieved a year-on-year increase of 1.3 million subscribers in the US, up to 31.1 million, according to its third quarter financial results. During the same results, Netflix revealed it was continuing to expand internationally, and expects 10.9 million non-US users to go along with up to 33.5 million users when it announces its fourth quarter results later this month. Netflix is also said to be in talks with cable companies to add the service to set-top boxes, like it does with Virgin Media TiVo boxes in the United Kingdom already, with the potential to increase its subscriber base further in the future.