Is Streaming Now the Death Knell for Cable and Satellite?

Welp, it finally happened–streaming platforms are officially more popular than watching cable or satellite. That benchmark is one of those metrics everyone knew was coming, but no one knew when. According to new insight from Nielsen, the cord is now cut for good as Americans are watching more programming streaming TV than viewing on cable or satellite.

In July, streaming amounted to 34.8% of 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 2022 Report

Streaming surpassing broadcast television is nothing new, as apps offer more shows, better writing, and the sundry, non-bleeped moment from our favorite characters. However, streaming has never surpassed cable viewing. Until now.

More than likely, this is the changing of the guard, the passing of the torch, and the bubble gut of cable executives in the bathroom. It’s never going back. With streamers like Netflix (Stranger Things), HBO Max (House of the Dragon), and Prime Video (Power of the Rings) bringing in record streams, subscriptions, and audiences, it’s time cable just suck it up and pulls the plug.

Are You Not Entertained?

Streamers have passed broadcast TV and cable. Isn't it time to applaud and yank the plug?
Source: Axios via Nielsen, 2022

It’s not that cable and satellite no longer have anything to enjoy. But when a typical viewer can record broadcast TV and binge one or two streamers for fun, there is no competition for the luxuries of home.

The amazing array of content streamers provides that broadcast television can’t begin to offer its viewers because they have too many FCC guidelines and bickering Karens that have strained the creativity muscle of showrunners. However, the grass is so much greener on the other side. The water bill is also higher, so there’s that.

If you know anyone who recalls the good ol’ days of four network channels and the rest were untold companies trying to get a tenth of the market share, they’re probably Boomers, and you call them “Mom” or “Dad.” Today, there are dozens of apps that offer legacy and original content vying for your attention. If consumers did the math, they would notice they are paying cable and satellite numbers.

Since they don’t count that cost, streamers are rapidly growing in influence and content over what broadcast television had to struggle with content development. Competition is everywhere. Stellar content can be seen in all of them. And now, we have the same strenuous contest among TV providers we used to have. Only now, even the streamers that suck aren’t doing that badly.

Going Against the Stream

streaming platforms grow around the world but what is the best bargain?
Source: All of them are pictured here. Like, do you need help with that?

If you haven’t noticed, even network television has entered the streaming wars.

  • NBC has Peacock
  • CBS has Paramount+
  • ABC has the Disney+ package
  • FOX has Fox Everything, like FXM, FOX NOW, Fox TV, Fox Sports, et al.

In case you were scoring at home, here are the top streaming platforms. If you nod up and down to know most of these, check your bill. You’re paying the same amount as you did with Dish, DirecTV, or hacking into your neighbors’ line. If you did the math, you’d know that. So, where is your money going?

Here are 10 most likely places. You’re welcome:

10. AppleTV+ (33.6M)

With the rise of Tom Hanks’ exclusive meh films, series like See and Ted Lasso, and avant-garde docs like Sidney, AppleTV+ is rising in popularity fast. While there is still an Olympic long jump between them and the top five streaming juggernauts out there, if you are allegiant to the iStream network, you should pack a few extra dollars each month.

9. Paramount+ (43.3M)

If you love the crime sagas from CBS, this is the app for you–as it is for more than 43 million people. Along with a healthy array of Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Smithsonian, BET, and MTVish networks, this streaming app is set to grow for a simple price. While this may not have the original content some of the others bestow, what they do have (e.g., Star Trek) isn’t bad at all.

8. Hulu (45.6M)

This one is confusing because Disney owns a majority of its stock, but there is still some superior original content like Candy, Run, Prey, and The Handmaid’s Tale. The partnership with FX has provided grand binges like Under the Banner of Heaven, Devs, Mrs. America and American Horror Stories. For $7 a month as the ad-supported platform, it’s tough not to use a better streaming base than this one.

7. HBO Max (76.8M)

Whatever Warner Bros. Discovery decides what they are doing, this number should skyrocket. Currently 76 million subscribers strong, you’ll spend $15 a month for various originals, DC Comics, HBO originals, anime, and other stuff that make up some of the most popular viewing pleasures today. It’s a fantastic bargain and will be even stronger when it merges with Discovery+.

4, 5 & 6. Asian TV (315M)

You already know about these three streaming global powerhouses if you have a special place in your heart (and budget) for premier Asian television.

  • Tencent – Yes, house of the original Godzilla/Gojira shows earns 124M subscribers with original content from Hong Kong to Bangladesh, Malaysia to the Phillippines, South Korea to Singapore. And please, you saw Squid Game. This is great content!
  • iQIYI – Owned by Chinese media overlord, Baidu Inc., 101.4M homes in the country calls this their entertainment home.
  • Youku – And if you were concerned about large companies, this is owned by Alibaba and airs nothing but original content. Think YouTubers with an agenda, and that’s Youku. Entertaining stuff.

3. Disney+ (152M)

Welcome to the little engine that could. The House of Mouse carries some of the most diverse content families can find with legacy animation to Pixar, Marvel Studios to 20th Century Studios, and all the Touchstone and Searchlight pictures in-between. If they continue to grow and push their own envelopes (we see you Netflix Marvel series), there’s no telling how many fireworks this magical app will launch.

2. Prime Video (175M)

Prime Video is working hard to kick Big Red off the mountain from the MGM content, UA titles, and Orion Pictures. Now that they are lollygagging in professional sports, there is no telling where they will end up. Still, the more Amazon Effect hypnotizes users into loving this “Fire,” it will continue to grow, unlike many other streaming apps in the ionosphere.

1. Netflix (221M)

Until further notice, this will be the leader in the clubhouse. Netflix has the richest mix of documentaries, films, series, foreign titles, anime, and fantastic originals that have won Oscars. They aren’t impossibly out of reach, but if Prime’s gamble in Thursday Night Football and the Pandora’s Box of J.R.R. Tolkien doesn’t pay off, no one ever will.