Across America, the deeply entrenched cable television market is under attack, shook up by the advent of streaming services. And for many consumers it would would seem that the industry had this coming: for all the benefits of cable, high costs, dubious contracts, and terrible customer service have plagued many of the big names in the industry.
Rather than a quick decline, the cable industry has been bled, at a rate of about 1% of subscribers per year. Most of the damage happened in 2015, when pay TV lost 1.1 million customers. William Kalisz got rid of his cable when he moved “I spend more time on the internet than I do on the television, I have Netflix.” He’s not
alone, even when faced with the dropping number of Netflix subscribers, the service, along with its competitors represents a real adversary.
Cutting the cord is largely associated with millennials, higher cost of living in general has made cable less attractive to many young people, while streaming services have surpassed pay TV among millennials. There is also an age split among cable demographics, with seniors and older viewers keeping the industry afloat: “older viewers watch more television than any other group, they watch more of it than they used to, and more are tuning in; and they are not going anywhere” The benefits of cutting cable are readily apparent as well: financial advice website The Simple Dollar, puts it this way: “[w]hether you’re into TV, movies, or sports (or all three), cutting cable won’t cut you off, but it might just save you upwards of $1,000 in a year.”
Christopher Yocum plans on getting rid of his service entirely “I only have three channels and I just got Ne-
tflix, I’m getting Hulu soon too.” He still has his cable set up, but is looking to get out of his subscription. Not only are young people eschewing cable, they’re mad about it too, Katherine Jackson just doesn’t find cable to be all that useful: “cable is a bulky piece of crap, it’s unnecessarily packaged, I can’t individually choose what to watch.” Katherine hits on an interesting point: with the advent and growth of the Internet, many of the services that
have traditionally been delivered over the television, news, shows and weather, is now freely and readily available over the Internet.
There is little surprise that steaming is more cost effective, cutting out cable television entirely can reduce the monthly price of cable service by half, while streaming services allow consumers of media to enjoy quality shows at a much lower price. The impact of streaming on cable television is quite similar to the experience of the music industry after the release of iTunes.
The future is unpredictable, and it’s too early to see if cable is on the way out, the industry is resilient of course and as such, the battle for cable could be fought in the courts, rather than on the couch.