The good news for streaming? It’s still growing! The bad news? The growth is not nearly as fast as it had been.

Streaming subscriptions increased by 10.1 percent in 2023, according to market researcher Antenna’s new State of Subscriptions report; hey, double-digit growth is always nice! It’s a bit less nice, however, when you compare it with the 21.6 percent growth of 2022.

Making matters (slightly) worse is that streaming’s churn — the cancellation of a subscription — is slightly up. Thankfully, 10 percent of churners resubscribe the next month, and one in three are back within six months. Peacock was the best of the bunch in 2023 terms of year-over-year churn improvement; Starz is the worst.

See Antenna’s churn-rate graph here:

In 2023, the industry saw 17 million fewer net subscriber additions than in 2022; total U.S. subscriptions at the end of the year were 242.9 million subs. Globally, Netflix has that number beat on its own.

The Fall of the House of Usher. Bruce Greenwood as Roderick Usher in episode 101 of The Fall of the House of Usher. Cr. Eike Schroter/Netflix © 2023

Tyler James Williams, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Lisa Ann Walter in ABC's "Abbott Elementary"

Peacock, Paramount+, and Netflix drove the most subscription growth in 2023, and for the first time ever, Netflix has maintained its market share.

In 2019, Netflix’s share of streaming was a whopping 48 percent (and much higher before then); it declined to 40 percent in 2020 and again to 31 percent in 2021. In 2022, Netflix’s share fell once more to 26 percent, a number it maintained in 2023. Credit that (in part, at least) to the streaming giant’s password-sharing crackdown. The industry has taken notice of the results, and everyone is following suit.

Antenna says it’s time to shift the focus from getting subscribers to managing subscribers.

“This will translate to much more sophisticated marketing and product strategies, new
success KPI’s, and a whole lot more reliance on data,” the report reads.

Of course, Antenna literally sells data to the industry, so.

Fellow data-pusher (just kidding; we love all researchers!) Ampere Analytics on Monday pinpointed the third quarter of 2024 as the moment when streaming revenues will overtake revenues from pay TV. Pay TV‘s value peaked in 2017; it’ll be half that peak by 2028. Don’t conflate revenue for subscribers — that crossing happened back in 2016. Overall revenue lagged eight years because streaming ARPU (average revenue per user) is about one-tenth of pay TV’s.

We’ve got more bad news for pay TV. Digital TV Research recently forecast that by 2029, the U.S. will be down to 50.7 million pay-TV households; it was basically twice that in 2015. If that proves out for that future date, it will mean we have lost about 10 million pay-TV homes in America between 2023 and 2029.

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