Is Cable TV Dying?

By Oscar Blanton Posted 9/23/2020 in ENTERTAINMENT

There is rapid evolution in how people consume entertainment, news, and information, but what does this mean for Cable Television? 

Never before, have consumers had so many video entertainment options to choose from. Broadcast television, traditional cable tv, streaming on-demand media, and social media content are just a few of the options. 

The reality is that many satellite and cable companies offer extensive packages including more than just traditional “Cable TV.” In many cities, the best high-speed internet services are offered by cable companies. So many cord cutters are actually watching streaming videos, listening to their favorite music and working using the internet provided by a cable provider. 

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Do People Still Watch Television?

One-third of American’s said it would be very hard to give up their television, according to Pew Research Center. Pew also noted in the 2017-2018 season, Nielsen estimated that 96.5% of Americans have a TV set where they receive broadcast, cable, or internet and that was actually an increase over the previous year. 

When predicting the fate of cable television, it helps to consider the way people are consuming media and how that is changing. Over the past few years, trends emerged that resulted in seemingly contradictory patterns of use.

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  • People want to enjoy their media on-the-go using their phones or tablets, not just their television set. Early in the “cord-cutting” trend, some cable companies overlooked this. However, the industry evolved, according to an analysis provided by the New York Times.
  • Streaming media increases in cost, in July 2020 the Wall Street Journal reported that streaming, on-demand packages are growing more expensive. For example, one popular streaming television package costs $65 per month for their most basic option and the price increases with the addition of more premium programming. 
  • People expect on-demand content thanks to the internet, Netflix, and various on-demand services. However, most cable companies now offer on-demand programming as well as extensive DVR services. 
  • It should also be noted that people also still enjoy live events; particularly sporting events, but also award shows, and even real-time local and national news. Around 90% of sports fans still subscribe to cable. 
  • Between streaming video, gaming, Zoom meetings, and listening to music today’s consumers value fast, reliable internet service. In some cities the highest bandwidth comes from cable providers as reported by CNBC.
  • While some popular programming is through streaming subscription services, many are still produced for cable television such as Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and others. Audiences still want to watch popular programs when they are first streamed, broadcast, or released. 
  • Twitter users live tweet while watching popular programs and televised events. AdWeek and others reported on the “second screen” phenomenon where people tweet using their phone while watching their favorite programming. The trending topics demonstrate that younger, tech-savvy people like Twitter users still tune in and engage with selected television shows. 


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In short, despite the cord-cutting trend, it is too soon to declare that cable television is dying.

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What Kind of Future is There for Cable Companies? 

Consumers will continue to crave access to live programming such as sporting events, award shows, news, and debut broadcasts of the most popular series. 

“Cable Television companies” are evolving and will likely continue to evolve. Offering access to high-speed internet and engaging programming will always be in-demand especially as people spend more time in their homes. The need increases as different household members simultaneously stream different programming. One may be watching a film on the television while another is playing a game on a tablet and listening to their favorite streaming music channel on headphones.

In addition, small businesses often purchase high-speed internet and telephone service through companies that many may think of as cable providers. With more people working at home, this demand is increasing.  

Tomorrow’s cable” will look and feel different than yesterday’s cable. The lines continue to blur between internet service providers, cable television companies, streaming media subscriptions, and telephone service providers, but Cable Companies and Cable TV still appear to have bright and long lasting future.