Cable companies no longer have a stranglehold over consumers. It used to be that the only way to get quality programming was to pay whatever fees cable companies felt like charging. Over the years both the cost of cable and the fees that are charged in addition to the main cost have been climbing every year. Some people now pay more than $200 a month just for basic cable service when taxes and fees are included in the price. Add ons like DVR service and additional channels can push that bill even higher.
But consumers do have a choice now, and they’re cutting the cable cord in record numbers. Cable companies have seen a dramatic drop in subscribers. Now more people than ever are paying only for high speed Internet. They are watching streaming services like Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix instead of paying huge prices for cable service.
There is a tradeoff to switching to streaming service. Many networks don’t make their new programs available to stream until the day after the show airs on cable. Sometimes they don’t make the shows available until a week after the original air date. But, consumers are willing to wait rather than pay a huge cost for cable TV.
Consumers love streaming services for several reasons. They cost a lot less than cable. But also consumers love that they can watch streaming media on a variety of platforms. Using Smart TVs or add on boxes like Roku, Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV they can watch great original programming directly on their high quality television. Or they can watch the shows they love on a phone, desktop or laptop, or on a tablet.
The combination of the low cost and the ability to watch on any device fits the lifestyle of today’s modern consumer who is always on the go and wants to watch a great show while commuting on the train, or on the treadmill at the gym, or in bed with their spouse at the end of the night. Streaming media gives them more freedom and makes it easier for them to watch when they want to.
The quality of streaming media content is increasing and that is a huge draw for consumers as well. A lot of people are sick of network TV shows that use the same tired old formulas. They are embracing new shows and movies on streaming services that are more relatable and more interesting.
Streaming services are taking advantage of the high demand for quality programming by creating original programs that are incredibly diverse and represent the voices of traditionally underserved groups. And they are bringing in the best shows and movies from around the world to expand the number of choices that consumers have.
So cable companies are really behind the eight ball now. If they don’t start to deliver better pricing and better quality content customers will continue to drop their cable TV service and just pay for high speed internet that allows them to stream their favorite shows.
Cable companies have been slow to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to changing their prices and their content. But if 2017 is another year of rapidly declining revenues they will have to figure out a way to win back all the consumers who are flocking to streaming media and leaving cable TV behind.
Cable TV also took a hit when broadcast channels went digital. Now anyone with an antenna can see broadcast channels for free. A cable subscription is no longer necessary to get news and programming on broadcast channels. So cable companies are scrambling now to figure out a way to price cable products in a way that will attract customers again. But most of the people who have cut the cord are thrilled with streaming TV and won’t go back to overpriced cable services.