In case you haven’t noticed, and many people have not, cable television viewing is on the decline. According to Business Insider, about 5 million people ended their cable subscriptions between the beginning of 2010 and the end of 2013. That is quite a chunk of business that is simply unplugging from the old television business model that has existed for decades.
Of course, in order to offset falling revenues, cable providers simply increase rates to subscribers that stick around, and television producers simply raise advertising rates to help cover any increases on their end. However, the question remains: Where are all the viewers going?
Pointing a finger at Netflix seems reasonable enough, but the real answer likely lies in a combination of Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Video on Demand, Hulu, YouTube and any other number of video streaming services, according to Forbes. Plus, add in the box or device that plugs into the television to stream the vast amount of content available to the big screen TV in the living room and the formula starts to make sense.
As far as cable TV subscribers, taking a quick glance at how many networks offer apps that feature the programming they hold near and dear, and the business model is designed to cannibalize itself. Perhaps the question that needs to be asked concerns why consumers are so eager to ditch cable companies and explore other options.
The answer is pretty obvious to any with a cable TV subscription-cost. According to The Huffington Post, cable TV bills rise by an average of 6.1 percent every year, and the average monthly charge for simply watching television could read $200 per month by 2020. That’s a lot of money to shell out just to watch “Monday Night Football” or “The Big Bang Theory.”
Television is in the middle of transforming, and into what is not exactly clear right now. Since many cable providers also double as cable providers, some sort of data cap per month could curb Internet viewing services considering the amount of data Netflix, YouTube, and other video services eat up. However, the jump to locations offering free Wi-Fi would be pretty obvious, because Starbucks would be packed with folks catching up on their shows.
With any luck, the industry will come up with a solution that is fair to viewers and content creators, because the delivery method seems to involve broadband at some point. However, the really hard questions are coming down the wire, and someone is going to have to pay for those solutions.