Netflix and Hulu are convincing millions of cable, satellite and telco subscribers to cut the cord and dive into video streaming.
That's the conclusion of a new report released this week by the Convergence Consulting Group, which finds that 2.65 million Americans canceled TV subscriptions between 2008-2011 in favor of lower-cost internet subscription services or video platforms.
The Canadian research firm estimates that 112,000 U.S. subscribers were added to the rolls in 2011. That represents a more than 50 percent drop from the 272,000 who signed up for the TV services in 2010.
The good news for the folks at Comcast, Time Warner Cable and their ilk is that while Convergence estimates that 1 million subscribers abandoned cable, internet or telco for streaming last year, it projects that cord cutters will begin to put away the scissors in 2012.
Convergence co-founder Brahm Eiley projects that the number of people opting out of TV subscription services will begin to slow in 2012 and 2013.
Part of the problem may be the dicey long-term prospects for Netflix, which has successfully lured away many cable users with its cheap subscription packages and extensive streaming library of older movies and shows.
Eiley argues that the rising price tag for streaming rights to this kind of programming will cause fiscal fits for the red envelope company.
He said that programming costs at the company more than tripled last year. Netflix owed $1.1 billion for streaming rights in 2010, but saw that number balloon to $3.9 billion by the end of last year.
"Unless Netflix achieves sufficient revenue growth it will not be able to sustain its high programming costs," Eiley told TheWrap.
Corrected: An earlier version of this story did not include satellite and telco subscribers.