The term, “watching TV” is continuing to be redefined as US consumers move from channel surfing to streaming online. And there is good reason to do so. On Wednesday, The Simple Dollar published an article claiming a savings of as much as $1,000 a year for those cutting cable and electing to get their TV, movies and sports from streaming services.
While about 100 million U.S. households still pay for TV programming, that number is stagnant. TV ratings and advertising rates are both down as well. According to Moffett Nathanson Research, the pay TV industry (Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, Verizon and others) lost 560,000 subscribers in Q2 2015, a 76% increase from the year before.
Some cable services are electing to offer smaller and less costly packages to their subscribers. This is not the case for those who subscribe to Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, Comcast as well as DirecTV and AT&T’s Uverse, now part of the same company. If subscribers have not already seen a rate hike, they should expect to see one in 2016. Some Time Warner Cable employees say they have known for some time that cable is in the decline nationwide but the company is already in a transition period. They say the company is bulking up its internet service offerings and looking at ways to provide even more in other ways as well.
Meanwhile, streaming continues to rack up awards along with customers. In January, Amazon won two Golden Globes out of its five nominations. Then, Netflix took home the most SAG (Screen Actors Guild) awards of any network. Is it any wonder why those with Bernstein, an investment, research and analyst firm, made the move to downgrade media companies such as Disney and Time Warner, calling ad-supported TV “structurally-impaired”?
So, just how many U.S. consumers have said goodbye to traditional pay TV viewing? According to comScore, 24 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds say they’re not subscribing to pay TV. More than half of those folks — 13 percent of the total number polled — say they’ve cut the cord (cord cutters), while 11 percent say they’ve never had a cord at all (cord nevers).
For now, it appears Americans have every intention of moving away from the cord, if they ever had one to begin with, to see what the market has available. The next question is, just how many streaming options will it take to saturate the market?
1. Have you cut the cord?
2. If so, how long has it been?
3. What product works for you and why?