As streaming breaches new thresholds of popularity, television’s share of viewing hours has fallen to an all-time low, dropping below 50% for the first time ever. Though streaming platforms have siphoned off a massive amount of subscribers from pay TV, fierce competition had previously kept prices ultra-low and made profitability almost non-existent. More recently, however, streaming services have cut their content spend and initiated large price hikes. Some claim that a package of the leading platforms now costs more than cable.
Offsetting some of those price increases has been the advent of ad-supported packages. These lower-cost subscriptions have made up 40% of new Disney+ users since being launched late last year, blunting the sticker shock of monthly costs that are testing the inelasticity of streaming demand.
Related Stocks: The Walt Disney Company (DIS), Comcast Corporation (CMCSA), Netflix, Inc. (NFLX), Roku, Inc. (ROKU)
July marked the first time in history that broadcast and cable’s share of total US viewing time fell below 50%, according to new Nielsen data. That means streaming and other media platforms have taken the lion’s share of viewing. Weakening television viewership, relative to streaming, has coincided with a perpetual drop in pay TV subscribers, which are also plumbing new lows. The latest data from Q2 shows that total subs dipped below 50 million for the first time in a second quarter. Variety reports that, collectively, multichannel providers Comcast, Charter, Altice USA, Dish and Verizon absorbed their steepest ever year-over-year loss in subscriptions, which surged to -3.8 million.
Though streaming has boomed in popularity, it has not been a particularly lucrative venture for the owners of popular streaming platforms. According to IndieWire, Netflix and Hulu are the only two major streaming services that were profitable by the end of 2022. Other big-name services like Peacock, Disney+, HBO’s Max platform, and Paramount+ have incurred significant losses. As The Wall Street Journal writes, entertainment giants have lost tens of billions of dollars since…
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