Amazon Prime’s intense growth will soon make it more popular than cable TV in the US

Amazon jeff bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Brent Lewis

In the near future, the number of US households subscribing to Amazon Prime will likely outnumber household subscriptions to cable or
satellite TV, according to estimates from investment research firm Morningstar.

As Recode notes, estimated subscriptions for Amazon Prime have increased dramatically since last year.

At the end of 2016, around 66 million US households had subscribed to the service. Today, there are nearly 79 million households subscribing to it.

(Since Amazon doesn’t disclose Prime membership numbers, Morningstar’s estimates are based on an analysis of Amazon’s “cash-flow statement.”
Survey-based estimates of Prime subscriptions have the service at around 85 million subscribers.)

By comparison, S&P Global estimates that there are currently around 90 million households subscribing to cable or satellite TV.

Prime’s exponential growth in subscription numbers since 2010 has it on pace to surpass those of cable TV as soon as next year, according to Recode’s analysis.

While Amazon Prime is primarily a product delivery service — which is still the main feature that most households are likely flocking to Prime for — its burgeoning video streaming service includes an extensive catalogue of acclaimed original shows and popular TV and movies.

In a move to better compete with cable and rival streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, Amazon will spend an estimated $US4.5 billion on video in 2017.

Amazon’s ambitious, hands-off approach to TV production has led to award-winning, innovative shows like “Transparent,” which showrunner Jill Soloway has said could not have been created on network TV, where a show’s vision “gets dissipated” in “political rewriting.”

Amazon also paid $US50 million to edge out Twitter for the rights to stream the NFL’s ten Thursday Night Football games in 2017, further underscoring its TV ambitions.

This story was originally published by Morningstar.