Internet and smartphone growth have slowed, Mary Meeker reports

Mary Meeker’s 2018 report on the state of the internet, via ReCode

In her annual state-of-the-internet report, Mary Meeker sizes up changes last year and emerging trends for next year. Here are a few of many takeaways. Review all of the slides below.

  • Smartphone and internet growth have slowed. With more than half the world online, there are fewer people left to connect. Time spent online, however, is still increasing.
  • Voice-controlled products like Amazon Echo are taking off.
  • Tech companies are facing a “privacy paradox.” They’re caught between using data to provide better consumer experiences and violating consumer privacy.
  • E-commerce growth is accelerating; physical retail sales are continuing to decline.
  • Who owns the digital pipelines?

    Charter Time Warner Cable Bright House Networks mergerThe defections continue from pricey U.S. cable TV bundles to internet-based TV. As the cable/broadband industry consolidates, three major players — Comcast, Charter (merged with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks) and AT&T — control most of America’s digital pipelines. Broadband internet subscriptions from these companies are holding their own.

    Subscribers to U.S. video and internet services (Q2 2018 or as noted)


    Company Digital TV Internet
    COMCAST 21,074,000 24,440,000 Q2-2018 company reports: Household video subs decreased by 136K in Q3; high-speed internet added 260K subs; total 10,213,000 voice customers
    CHARTER  17,300,000 19,400,000 Q1-2018 reports: Household video subs fell by 112K; high-speed internet subs grew 331K; total 10,375,000 telephone subs. (Merger of Charter, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks closed in 2016)
    ATT (includes DIRECTV) 25,200,000 14,400,000 Q3 reports: DirecTV lost 359K subs, online DirecTV Now added 342K, ATT WatchTV launched; 76K added household internet; 54,700,000 consumer wireless customers. Merger with Time Warner closed 2018;
    VERIZON FIOS 4,560,000 5,959,000 Q2-2018 reports: 116,500,000 wireless customers; acquired AOL and Yahoo!, renamed Oath
    COX 4,500,000 6,000,000 estimates
    ALTICE approx 4,600,000 approx 4,600,000 approx 4,600,000 voice customers. Acquired Suddenlink (2015) and Cablevision (2016)
    DISH 13,150,000  595,000 Q1 2018 reports: Includes 2.3 million Sling TV subscribers.

    Streaming TV contenders 2017

    More than one third of U.S. broadband households had a connected TV early in 2017, 45% had a smart TV, and almost half had a gaming console, according to this Parks Associates study. From the consumer’s perspective, this rapidly evolving internet-video landscape can be roughly divided into media streaming devices you need to get access, services which offer live streaming TV channels (in effect, a virtual cable TV subscription) and the grand variety of video-on-demand programming services which offer movies, TV shows and more for streaming.

    Competition reached a boiling point late in 2017 among the key players: Amazon, Netflix, Apple TV, Comcast, Disney, Roku and many others.

    Live TV streaming services

    DirecTV Now (AT&T) – More than 100 live channels – $35/month
    Hulu with Live TV – $8/month
    Instant TV (from Comcast, due Sept 2017)
    PlayStation Vue – $40/month and up
    Sling TV (Dish) – $20/month
    YouTube TV – $35/month

    Subscription video on demand (SVOD) services

    Acorn TV – Best of British TV
    Amazon Prime Video – Deep catalog of movies, plus original TV series.
    CBS All Access – Live and on-demand CBS shows plus NFL games.
    fuboTV Premier– Live HD streams of MLB, NBA, NHL games.
    HBO NOWGame of Thrones, Veep, Silicon Valley, Westworld and other HBO titles on demand.
    Hulu – On-demand TV with a new slate of original titles including The Handmaid’s Tale.
    Netflix – The leading service for streaming TV shows and movies, also offering Netflix Original shows.
    Showtime AnytimeHomeland, Billions, The Affair and other original series.
    Starz – Original series and movies

    Streaming media enabling devices

    Smart TV – Most TVs sold today are “smart,” meaning they have internet connections and TV apps installed.
    Roku – The leading supplier of connected TV devices supports just about every programming service except iTunes – Roku Streaming Stick (3600R) | Portable HD Streaming Player, Quad-Core Processor, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, Point Anywhere Remote (Certified Refurbished)
    Amazon Fire TV – Supports Amazon Video, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and many more, at 4K video quality – Fire TV Streaming Media Player or Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote
    Chromecast – Latest version of Chromecast Ultra supports 4K and HDR quality video.
    Apple TV – (Upgrade expected Sept 2017) – Supports Netflix, Hulu, HBO NOW and WatchESPN, with Siri Remote

    More information

    Consumer Reports guide to streaming TV services and Wirecutter recommendations. The Simple Dollar offers a guide to cord-cutting. TV set reviews from or or CNET labs.