Online Viewing Options Mean More People Are Cutting the Cable Cord
Earlier this summer, I cut the cord—the cable cord that is. So far we’re fine. We’re not heavy TV consumers by any means but there has always been a certain comfort in knowing it was there if we wanted it. But since sitting down to watch TV is a rarity in our house summer seemed like the perfect time to go cable free and spend our money on something we really used. Going sans cable might change when hockey season starts again but until then we have time to research the options.
Thanks to Apple TV, Netflix and other online streaming services, I’m not the only cable subscriber cutting the cord. According to data supplied by major cable providers to Leichtman Research Group, the gap is growing between Internet subscribers and TV subscribers in the US. The final quarter of 2014 found more customers opting for increased broadband and dumping their cable TV packages. LRG also found that 56% of U.S. households have a least one television connected to the Internet via various devices. That is up from 44% in 2013 and 24% in 2010.
LRG research also found that 52% of households get a subscription video on-demand (SVOD) service from Netflix, Amazon Prime, and/or Hulu Plus, 43% of adults stream an SVOD service at least monthly and 43% of pay-TV subscribers get Netflix—compared to 50% of all pay-TV non-subscribers.
A 2013 report from the National Association of Broadcasters found that 19.3% of American homes live without cable TV. And that number may well be up over the past two years.
But making the choice to cut the cord may also come with costs. According to Cox Communication spokesman Todd Smith, a bundled package (internet, phone and cable) may cost less than a cable only bundle thanks to discounts. The price of cable may also increase for higher-speed options.
Canadian cable companies will be offering smaller cable services and pick-packs. The country’s broadcast regulator, the CRTC, has ordered broadcasters to allow their customers to “pick and pay for the Canadian and American TV channels they want by December 2016” rather than being forced to pay for channels they don’t want. Meanwhile U.S. providers are considering options to keep consumers from shearing their connections including “Flex Watch” which includes a streamlined package of television channels along with an Internet package.
That may be enough to keep some viewers from going cold turkey when it comes to cable.