Everything TV networks feared about Netflix is coming true

Mar 11, 2015

It might be time for cable to start worrying about online streaming. The Wall Street Journal reported that a drop in TV ratings and viewership can be chalked up to subscription-based streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

People familiar with the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau told the newspaper that as much as 40% of TV-rating declines in the third and fourth quarters were attributable to streaming services. The news comes as TV viewing has declined by an estimated 10% from a year previously in the third quarter, and by 9% for the fourth quarter year-over-year, according to the Journal, citing Nielsen data.

"We believe the U.S. television industry is entering a period of prolonged structural decline, caused by a migration of viewers from ad-supported platforms to non-ad-supported or less-ad-supported platforms,” according to Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger in a March 9 statement.

According to the Journal, Scripps Networks Interactive chief revenue officer Steve Gigliotti said that working with Netflix once "sounded like a good idea, but "now there are some serious misgivings about it."

Netflix reported fourth quarter earnings in January, posting big gains. The company reportedly finished 2014 with a 26% gain in revenue in the year's last quarter, while over four million people subscribed. Netflix notched $1.48 billion in revenue during the quarter, up from $1.18 billion last year. Profits also rose 72% year-over-year for the fourth quarter to $83.4 million, or $1.38 per share.

Meanwhile, HBO announced a streaming service that will begin as an exclusive partnership with Apple. Plans were unveiled at a March 9 event, featuring the Apple Watch. While HBO Go will cost $14.99 per month and require access to an Apple TV, Netflix costs $8.99. During the event, Apple also announced it'd be reducing the price of the Apple TV to $69 from $99.

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