Finally, Netflix has surpassed traditional cable in numbers of U.S. subscribers. This lends itself very nicely to my theory and rants over the last few months that there will come a time when traditional cable will be obsolete. Case in point, my parents are talking about cutting the cable. My elderly parents! So if they’re thinking about doing it, then I can only imagine who else is. Getting back to Netflix, though. They have just narrowly surpassed cable in terms of subscriber numbers. But their subscriptions have been steadily increasing since 2012. Whereas, cable subscriptions have been only gradually decreasing.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, I should note a couple of things. Just because you have Netflix, doesn’t mean you don’t have cable. But from a statistical analysis perspective, the numbers are the numbers. Cable subscriptions are decreasing. Period. So how are people getting their entertainment needs met? Through online streaming services would be my guess. While Netflix has seen huge growth, it should also be pointed out that cable subscriptions haven’t decreased that much. These numbers also don’t include satellite subscriptions, which has about 38 million subscribers.
So what else do the numbers show? For starters, more people are tuning into Netflix. And why is that? My guess has to do with a lot of new original content. Content that you can’t get any where else. This is really big right now. Another argument I’ve made towards streaming online has to do with the fact that you can watch what you want, when you want. You aren’t tied to a cable. Literally. You can take Netflix with you on vacation. Never falling behind on an episode that you want to watch. You can also download episodes from Netflix, giving you more flexibility with where you watch. Can anyone say airplane? Netflix is doing it right. Not to mention, a subscription is relatively inexpensive. Even if you had basic cable, a Netflix subscription doesn’t add that much more to your monthly budget.
Yes, there are other companies out there with original programming. And I think that’s great. I just think that Netflix has come to the table first, or maybe just in a bigger way. They also have some pretty good original programming that I’m not sure others can compete with. Keep in mind, Netflix wasn’t this giant a few years ago. Remember, you used to get discs in the mail? Who even remembers what a disc looks like, let alone what the mail is? All kidding aside, this has been a long time coming for Netflix.
The other thing to consider is how long this will last? I’m sure their growth will increase over the next couple of years, but it will have to hit a slump at some point. Another company, let’s say, Amazon, might come along and give them a run for their money. Regardless if that happens, Netflix will need to stay relevant and competitive. They will need to continue working on strategies to get more subscribers, while leveraging what they already have. All companies who want to compete in this business need to keep those things in mind. People will start to leave your service if you’re not giving them what they want. And with so many options out there, its a consumers market in a way.