New estimates show that Americans are subscribing to Amazon Prime on a pace faster than those paying for television. Morningstar estimates that almost 79 million U.S. households have an Amazon Prime subscription. That’s up from 66 million last year.

The latest estimates project that 90 million households pay for cable or satellite television. But with the pace of Amazon’s memberships, it’s expected that they will outnumber pay TV subscriptions as early as next year.

Recode has put out this graph showing the number of pay TV and Amazon households since 2010:

This is not to say that Amazon Prime Video is more popular than cable TV as many still sign up for Amazon Prime for the free delivery and fast service, but this is a sign for the company that Americans want to join Prime.

And this is also a good sign for the Amazon Video side as it enters the 2017 NFL season and will begin streaming 10 Thursday Night Football games to its subscribers. Unlike last season when Twitter streamed TNF games and anyone could watch them, only Amazon Prime subscribers will have access.

Recode notes that Amazon has been marketing its Prime service not just to higher-income families my but also lower-income Americans adding discounts to those on government assistance as well as offering a monthly payment option for those not wanting to pay the $99 annual fee.

Not all of Amazon Prime subscribers will watch Thursday Night Football, but if a good portion of them do, then it’s a massive win for the NFL. With the $50 million rights fee plus other perks that Amazon is providing to the NFL to stream the games, getting its members to watch is even more important.

But as more people purchase memberships, the greater the likelihood of attracting people to the Video side.

Amazon doesn’t make its membership numbers public thus Morningstar’s estimates are based on analysis of the company’s cash-flow statements.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.