Cable vs. Streaming Showdown

A new wave of TV viewing has consumers surfing the net for shows.

New projected figures show that television may very well be in trouble!  TV entertainment is decidedly in favor of streaming services. According to data projected in a 2012 TechCrunch survey, online video viewing increased 40% from 2010-2011, with 100 million regular viewers of online video per annum. Believe it or not, Netflix is solely accountable for 35% of all streaming bandwidth on the Internet!

According to the 2012 US Digital Future in Focus report, conducted by comScore, Americans streamed 43.5 billion videos in December 2011, which is up 44% since December 2010 figures. Furthermore,105.1 million Americans now watch videos online each day; up 43% from the 73.7 million in 2010.


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Streaming Stats
The following figures are taken from a 2011 Retrevo Survey of 1,000 U.S consumers:

  • 83% of surveyed consumers watched most/all of their TV programs online.
  • 64% of Americans get some of their TV content online.
  • 80% said they watched most of their TV shows online
  • 5% said they only watched television programs on the Internet.

For the surveyed consumers under the age of 25, a quarter of respondents said they watched most of their TV shows online, and 6% said they only watched TV online. Additionally, the survey concluded that men were more likely than women to watch TV shows online, with 17% of male participants versus 9% of female participants.

When consumers were asked what would prompt a switch from cable/satellite TV to online-only programming, 43% of participants considered canceling their service, and/or had actually canceled. Those who did not cancel said the lack of online availability for their favorite shows were the main reason for not making the switch.

As far as shows go, respondents said that the following were important factors in whether to switch from cable/satellite to online-only TV.

  • premium channel programming
  • live sports
  • HD options

The Retervo survey concluded:
“Online TV viewership is on the rise, and people are tired of high-priced programming! With the advent of Internet-capable TVs and the dissatisfaction with satellite and cable service, we will likely see increasing attraction toward online offerings in the years to come.”

Streaming Successes
A 2011 comScore survey showed one-third of Americans have streamed a movie or TV show on Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Crackle or another net-based video service. According to Ia 2012 IHS Screen Digest Survey, 3.4 billion Americans watched movies online. These figures doubled the 2011 total, and exceeded DVD/Blu-Ray consumption for the first time ever.

The Convergence Consulting Group found that 2.65 million subscribers dropped their pay-TV service completely in favor of streaming video options, from 2008-2011. In 2011 alone, there was 74% increase of online streaming subscriptions.

The following are figures taken from a 2012 DaCast compilation report:

  • 25 million mobile owners stream 4 hours of video per month
  • 35% of US mobile phone users also streamed video
  • $121 million accounted for mobile video revenue sales in 2010
  • In 2014, there will be an estimated $16 billion of mobile video subscriptions

[insert graph for following data ]

age            mobile video streamers – %
13-17                10.8
18-24                21.9
25-34                31.8
35-44                20.6
45-54                11.4
55+                      3.4

Streaming Services
The following is a 2012 comparison of streaming services, according to USA TODAY RESEARCH:

>> YouTube <<
accounted for 45% of Americans’ online video streaming time in  2011 & has its own TV channels

>>Netflix <<
Major Delivery Devices:
Xbox, PS3, Wii, iOS app, Android app, Apple TV, WD TV Live, Roku.
Special Features:
Originally-produced movies
Disc-by-mail program
Pricing: $7.99 per month; extra charge for disc delivery by mail.

>> Hulu Plus <<
Major Delivery Devices:
Roku; TiVo; WD TV Live; iOS and Android apps; Xbox; PS3 and Wii
Special Features:
Current-season TV shows
Originally produced series
Pricing: $7.99 per month

>> Vudu <<
Major Delivery Devices:
Xbox, PS3, iOS app and WD TV Live
Special Features:
Owned by Walmart, where users can convert DVDs to digital files for a fee.
Files are kept in your Vudu account.
Pricing: 99 cents to $5.99 per TV show/movie rental.

>> Amazon Prime Instant Video <<
Major Delivery Devices:
Roku, PS3, TiVo
Special Features:
two-day shipping for Amazon purchases
Prime is $79 per year for unlimited streaming.

>> Apple iTunes <<
Major Delivery Devices:
Devices running iOS and Apple TV.
Special Features:
Sells current-season TV shows.
Pricing:$2 – $5 per TV show/ movie rental.

Cable Comebacks
Pay-TV providers like Comcast are creating their own “online” services in an effort to keep subscribers, offering smartphone apps that allow streamed TV shows/movies. HBO and various content providers are even developing their own delivery software. These efforts are intended to motivate consumers to keep their cable subscription, while granting them the luxury of streaming content.


  • Xfinity Streampix
    • gives video subscribers on-demand viewing of movies and TV shows on iPhones/iPads.
    • in 2012, customers streamed an average of 375 million times per month.

Cox Communications

  • Cox TV Online
    • gives customers access to 10,000 videos for computers and laptops.
    • attracting 1 million views per month
  • Cox TV Connect: an iPad app that only be surfed at home by its customers
    • used by 20% of Cox customers per month.

Dish Network

  • Blockbuster Movie Pass
    • 10 per month + Dish subscription
    • instant TV/iPad streaming of more than 100,000 movies, TV shows/games.

Research shows that traditional TV providers are the preferred method of both celebrities and content owners, as a shift to online streaming would greatly hinder revenue sales.

According to 2012 In-State research, an estimated 10 million homes were equipped with dual pay-TV/ Net-based content. This figure is thought to increase to 35 million by 2016.

As data from the following infographic suggests, online streaming has the potential to surpass cable TV and serve as the go-to medium for entertainment content. For those who are looking to make a seamless switch to streaming, visit Here you can browse through the most comprehensive volume of free internet TV listings and guides, and join ranks of the millions switching from cable to computer screen.


  1. Daizy Dee
    Daizy Dee February 13, 2013 at 7:59 am

    How about instaed of a battle between the two we look at the two complimenting each other. Cable has it’s place for the top quality content that only they can afford to offer, but supplement it with a cheap Netflix subscription or other digital downloads. Rather than a battle, i see the two services merging so you pay the one subscription for online and offline watching on a number of devices. Ask yourself the question – Which service would you miss the most, your cable or Netflix streaming? As soon as HBO or Time Warner get their act together and offer unlimited streaming of content like Netflix offer then it will be bye bye Netflix….

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