If your family hasn’t yet given up on cable, the odds are good that you know a family or two that has – and you have probably had to field more than one question on why you haven’t taken the leap yourself! The fact that the old cable model is dying in not in dispute; subscription numbers have been dropping off for some time, with 2014 being something of a milestone year. It should come as no surprise that 2015 saw further decline in cable and broadcast television viewership, and 2016 looks to continue this trend. Cable and broadcast television still has reach, but its days may be numbered.
It begs the question: why are more and more families choosing to cut the cable cord? As is often the case when the status quo suddenly becomes upended, there isn’t just one reason. Rather, a number of different factors have contributed to the decline in cable and broadcast television viewership. Let’s take a look at the top three reasons below.
Anyone who has a cable subscription knows that cable doesn’t come cheaply. For many cable subscribers, receiving a monthly bill for $100 or more is par for the course, and that cost doesn’t even account for services like HBO and Showtime, which have separate fees. Compare this cost to Netflix and Hulu, both of which can be had for less than $10 per month, and the cost savings becomes plainly evident. Put simply, the difference in price between cable and streaming services is significant (and the cost benefits rather self-evident).
Speaking of streaming services, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other online options make a compelling argument for ditching cable altogether. As the public at large increasingly turns to their smartphones, laptops, tablets, and computers to watch movies, television, and Internet video, cable television seems less and less necessary. Furthermore, carriers like T-Mobile are catching on to this fact, and now offer features like Binge On for their phones, which eats up no data when watching video or listening to music (if using a supported service, of which Binge On has more than 60, including well-known channels like ESPN and Nickelodeon). The picture this data paints is pretty clear: cable television is simply no longer a necessity in many households.
3. Changing Viewing Habits
Cable television is designed around a rather old-fashioned and out-of-date way of viewing media. For many families, sitting in front of the television on a Thursday night for “Must See TV” is no longer a reality. Instead, families watch the next day on Hulu, or catch only the highlights on YouTube or the broadcast networks’ own websites. Or in some cases, viewers will simply wait until a season hits Netflix, and then binge watch an entire series over the course of a long weekend. All of these viewing habits demand a platform that is adaptable and readily available across multiple devices – cable is not that platform, streaming media is.
Have You Cut the Cord? You Can.
Cutting the cable cord may seem daunting, particularly if you grew up on cable television and your kids are accustomed to watching certain shows at a certain time. But not only is it possible, it can be downright easy – and you’ll save a fair bit of money in the process.
With streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO Go (among others), you will likely find that most of the shows you currently watch are still available to you once you ditch cable. In some cases, you may even be able to watch your favorite television shows the day after they premiere – Hulu has become a go-to for many people interesting in doing just this. Beyond that, you’ll also gain access to original programming from the likes of Netflix and Hulu, as well as the bottomless well of creativity that is YouTube (some good, some bad). And if all else fails, you can purchase a digital antenna as well for access to the big three: NBC, ABC, and CBS (plus some others).
Put simply, if you’re afraid that you’ll be hurting for choice once you ditch cable, don’t be. Your options will be nearly limitless.