Cable providers lost 268,000 subscribers in the second quarter of this year, by far the biggest loss in a quarter ever. Netflix subscriptions came in well below the company’s targeted numbers for subscriptions after splitting streaming and discs into two separate fees. And Hulu is apparently failing to lock up the content deals it had hoped for in Europe.
None of this is really surprising. We’re still negotiating our way towards a new equilibrium, and we’re going to see a lot of bumps, like Starz not renewing their contract with Netflix, along the way. Cable subscriptions will probably have to fall a lot further before the cable companies and the networks feel pressure to more aggressively seek out alternatives. And at the end of the day, I think prices will settle somewhere in between what cable companies charge now, and what Netflix and Amazon charge. There’s no way $79 per year makes sense as an all-inclusive fee for delivery of physical objects, streaming licenses, and now, a couple of books a month. And $29.98 for unlimited streaming and a lot of disks seems pretty fair, though still not enough to cover current shows that you can watch on multiple devices. This system’s going to get more complicated before it gets clearer.