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Netflix subscriptions rise as HBO and Showtime lose viewers, report finds (update)

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Netflix Headquarters 4
Netflix Headquarters 4

Update: The NPD Group has retracted portions of its report, now stating that while its conclusion that premium subscription channels are losing subscribers is true as a whole, it should not have concluded that specific companies such as HBO and Showtime were losing subscribers. HBO and Showtime have specifically denied that this is the case as well. Our original report can be found below:

HBO better watch out. Netflix and other streaming video services are on the rise, and it's seemingly happening at the expense of premium TV channels. The new data comes from The NPD Group, which found that streaming video services saw a four percent uptick in subscribed households over the past two years, while premium TV channels — such as HBO and Showtime — saw a collective decline of six percent. The two are beginning to close in on each other as well: 32 percent of US households are now subscribed to a premium channel, while 27 percent are subscribed to a streaming video service.

"Some consumers are trimming back their premium TV subscriptions."

While The NPD Group didn't confirm that consumers are specifically choosing to drop premium channels in favor of streaming services, its analysts suspect as much. “As [subscription video on demand] services have gained momentum, it’s clear that some consumers are trimming their premium TV subscriptions," Russ Crupnick, SVP of industry analysis for The NPD Group, says in a statement. Crupnick also points toward streaming services' attempts to become channels on their own through original shows as an element driving the change.

Though Hulu and Amazon haven't been particularly successful in their original programming endeavors, Netflix indisputably has, and these numbers suggest its bet on exclusive content is paying off. With House of Cards season two and the Oscar-nominated documentary The Square on Netflix's winter slate, premium TV channels will have even more to stand up to this year. It's no secret that Netflix wants to become the next HBO, but it appears to be heading there quicker than most thought possible.