Netflix has more subscribers than its 3 biggest cable competitors combined, but that might be a bad thing

House of cardsIMDB / Netflix‘House of Cards’

Netflix may have missed on its subscriber growth estimates for the US last quarter, in a big way, but it still has more customers than the top three US cable companies — combined.

AllFlicks, a data site that tracks the streaming industry, put together a snapshot of how Netflix compares to its pay TV competitors.

Here is what they found:

  1. Netflix (OTT): 47,130,000
  2. AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV (IPTV/satellite): 26,000,000
  3. Comcast (cable): 22,400,000
  4. Charter Communications (cable): 18,421,145
  5. Dish Network (satellite): 13,909,000
  6. Verizon FiOS (fibre): 4,700,000

The third-highest cable company, Cox, didn’t make the list, but comes in at 4.5 million. That means Netflix has more subscribers than the three top cable companies combined, which cover most of the US when put together (AT&T, which uses its fibre optic lines to transmit video, is not technically a cable company).

That news might sound like a good thing for Netflix, but it actually could be a source of worry for investors who are concerned about Netflix’s slowing subscriber growth. Netflix has blamed the slowdown on accidental cancellations from the new chip-enabled credit cards and on media reports, but the big fear among investors is that the slowdown is actually because Netflix has saturated the market.

According to Business Insider Intelligence, the top nine US cable companies added just over 50,000 subscribers in Q1 2016, with total cable subscribers at 49.1 million. Some of those companies have yet to report their Q2 earnings.

Netflix is sitting just below that level, at 47.1 million for Q2, and the company added just 160,000 new subscribers in the US last quarter.

So the question is whether Netflix’s appeal can push beyond that of cable, or whether this is as big as it gets.

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