In the old days, if you wanted to watch shows and movies that were on cable channels, of course, you had to pay for basic cable, that was the norm. But with the entry of Amazon Prime, there could be a new marker for what the regular American household considers a basic service.
According to estimates from Morningstar reported by Recode, almost 79 million U.S. households have an Amazon Prime subscription, up from about 66 million at the end of 2016. Put that figure next to the 90 million households in the country that will pay for cable or satellite TV this year, and it seems Amazon is gaining ground.
Of course, Amazon Prime subscribers aren’t just watching TVs and movies — they’re taking advantage of free shipping and streaming music, among other things. Which means that these subscription numbers aren’t necessarily a death knell for traditional cable providers, but rather show that it’s becoming increasingly more common for Americans — and not just the richest among us — to subscribe to Prime.
So while we were all worried about one cable company having 30% of the market for cable TV after the Federal Communications Commission lifted the cable ownership limit back in 2009, those concerns were somewhat allayed because other companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu jumped in and got a slice of the TV pie.
With these recent numbers indicating that Amazon is becoming a basic necessity for many, perhaps there’s a new worry: Amazon could become all things to all people, like the megacorporation in Alien, Weyland-Yutani. And you never want real life to be anything like Alien.
Which, we suppose, goes to show that net neutrality can affect more than just your internet connection, it affects the value of your grocery delivery service. Which is also your pay TV service.
Meanwhile, the cable industry has other things to worry about, now that there are more Netflix subscribers in the U.S. than there are people paying for the top cable-TV providers: