Over the past several years, online streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, have become increasingly popular. This trend has, in turn, taken away a significant amount of appeal and support for traditional cable television providers. Big names in this waning industry include corporations such as Dish, DirecTV, and TWC. Overall, long time cable customers are dismissing their providers and turning to internet streaming for entertainment content.
The first question that one must ask is why? Simply put, internet streaming platforms are appealing because they offer a majority of aspects of television at a much lower cost. For instance, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime offer their streaming services at less than $10 per month, with the option to cancel anytime with no extra surcharges or penalties.
On the other hand, cable services, like DirecTV, have a base price of around $35, an installation fee, and a monthly fee that can shoot easily over $100 with the addition of more channels. Additionally, more often than not, cable companies have contracts in which customers must pay excessive cancellation fees to opt out.
Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, the leaders in the streaming industry, offer their own perks and benefits, whether it’s movie variety (Netflix), next-day TV episodes (Hulu), or free 2-day shipping (Amazon). A considerable amount of households have a combination of these platforms.
For instance, in an interview with JSR, Derek Meegan, a resident who recently became a so-called cable cutter, commented that “I got all 3 services [Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime] for around only $25 a month. I used to pay around $150 a month when I used DirecTV or Comcast, so I really do not regret cancelling my cable services and switching to a much more cost efficient system.”
Other benefits offered by streaming services include easy access and the ability to personalize one’s experience over a vast array of different shows and movies. People can choose their preferred entertainment, customize their homepage, and easily watch on their mobile devices. Moreover, streaming services allow users to “binge watch” TV series, consuming an immense number of episodes of a particular show without intermission.
Cable TV, however, is not totally obsolete. Sports fanatics are probably better off with traditional cable in order to have access to Major League Baseball, National Football League, and so on, as streaming services do not come close to cable providers in their access to live, televised sports games. Additionally, there are more random channels and non-mainstream shows on cable that certain people may find entertaining. As a whole, though, most people do not fit into these categories, hence the switch to streaming platforms.
In terms of the future, streaming services have an excellent outlook. Research companies such as EMarketer estimate that a staggering 23% of American households won’t have any type of cable by 2019 and Netflix itself has caused around 45% of U.S. TV viewing drop in some cases. Cable television is not “dead,” but it will undoubtedly see a significant decrease in usage.