The Death of Cable T.V.

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It’s the early sixties. Television is wildly popular and becoming more mainstream each year in America. Families, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances gather together to watch T.V., and a revolutionary outlet for the spread of news is born. Who could have imagined that something so life changing could become obsolete so fast?

50 years later, and the consumers’ mind is beginning to shift.

The internet was created in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee, but streaming video has been relevant for about a decade. Since the beginnings of companies such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and recently Amazon; people have steadily been making online streaming part of their daily routine, with Netflix alone having almost 82,000,000 members.

There are two main reasons for this. One, the $10 or less a month subscriptions to most online streaming services – with the exception of YouTube, which is free – is far less expensive than the hundreds of dollars a year that cable TV can cost. However revenue for these online companies reaches into the billions each year.

In addition, having things to watch online is much more convenient than watching live or even recorded TV. Not only can people watch on their computer, phone, or tablet, but they can watch anytime, with no restraints on the number of episodes or videos they can view.

The overall consensus by data gathering companies is that streaming shows are overtaking the popularity of traditional television; in fact, each year the number of new unique viewers rises by 146 percent, according to Adobe.

Older generations on average are more likely to have cable subscriptions than the younger ones, 80 percent of 32-48 year olds picked pay TV over online subscriptions, but as time progresses and the majority of content is produced on the internet, this will change.

“I never really thought of anything other than cable as being practical,” an anonymous senior living in New York City explained. “Everything’s on TV… when you’re paying extra on the internet for something you already own, it isn’t responsible.”

As practically all future generations will grow up with the internet, this view will dramatically change: Young people now aren’t used to the rituals of television, and don’t have patience for non-instant forms of media.

So now with the online streaming market taking off, who are the major players?

Most people have a Netflix subscription by now, and Hulu as well as Amazon both offer a vast selection of online stream-able content. But what’s interesting about these streaming companies, is that while buying the rights to certain T.V. shows and movies – they’re producing dozens of their own as well.

Traditional television networks like HBO and AMC, as well as CBS are putting almost all their content online – with dedicated streaming services. Also, virtually all TV channels have some sort of presence on YouTube, whether it be late night talk show clips, or small news segments.

While some say cable T.V. holds a lot of nostalgia with its name and history, it’s now an outdated way to consume programs. Online streaming will prove to become a much better and efficient platform to put shows on. Now that being said, the same companies that provide cable also happen to own the internet, (Internet Service Providers like Verizon, AT&T, etc.). So how the death of T.V. will play out, especially with new rollbacks on Net Neutrality, will ultimately be up to the companies who make the decisions.


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