Are We Witnessing the Death Spiral of Cable Television?
Posted by TDB on September 18, 2017 5:18 pm
Tags: Cable Television, Cable television in the United States, cable tv, Comcast, entertainment, Federal Communications Commission, Google, HBO, Hulu, Internet television, National Broadcasting Company, National Football League, netflix, Pay television, Pay TV, ratings, Technology, television, Television in the United States, Time Warner, TV Everywhere, Verizon
Categories: Cable television Cable television in the United States Cable TV Comcast Economy Entertainment Federal Communications Commission Google HBO Hulu Internet television National Broadcasting Company National Football League netflix Pay television Pay TV ratings Technology television Television in the United States Time Warner TV Everywhere Verizon
Cable television has long been the coveted propaganda arm used to program American sentiments. But because of the internet, viewer choice for news, sports, and entertainment has proliferated. Content is becoming decentralized, and that makes it harder to control the attitudes of the masses.
Since 2013, pay tv subscriptions have been declining, losing more customers than they gain. Over one million people per year are fleeing from paying for cable TV from companies like Verizon, Time Warner, and Comcast.
For three straight years, the viewership of the Emmy’s has declined. Yet while cable networks broadcast the award show, original Hulu and HBO shows were winning the awards.
You don’t need a cable subscription to watch shows on Netflix, HBO Now, or Hulu. While Netflix and Hulu run some cable shows, they also produce their own content. This doesn’t automatically mean the content won’t be akin to the typical propaganda on cable. But it does mean that control over programming is more decentralized. This includes the FCC’s slipping grip, as they have thus far failed to seriously regulate online programming.
Now consumers have a choice. Youtube offers even more choices which allow independent and much smaller content producers to disseminate their shows. Owned by Google, there is plenty to criticize when it comes to Youtube. They arbitrarily remove certain content that they don’t like. But this will just bolster alternatives like Vimeo and DailyMotion.
Amazon also offers subscription programming that goes along with their Prime program. Like Netflix, they are investing in making their own TV shows and movies to better compete with all the alternatives. An Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial lets you see what they got before committing.
And whatever issues you may have with companies like Youtube and Amazon, there are now plenty other options available, with more coming.
An exciting new startup called BadMirror.tv will soon go live. The company aims to tackle programming from a community perspective. They offer “hyperlocal broadcasting” that is boosted based on popularity but always starts locally. BadMirror.tvseeks to reconnect people to their community so that a handful of big executives–and whoever is influencing them–can’t centralize control over content, and decide what will be popular.
Pride comes before the fall.
A user base can vanish quickly when customers no longer get what they want from a business, and have plenty of alternatives.
And we should expect viewers to go elsewhere as their favorite content starts leaving a bad taste in their mouth. For years, football has enjoyed tremendous ratings, insulated from the decline of other cable programming. But viewers have recently been turned off by excessive political correctness from the NFL, as well as protest displays from pro-football players which many view as unpatriotic and disrespectful to law enforcement.
Overall viewership for the 2016 NFL season was down 8% per game, an average of 1.4 million fewer viewers per game compared to 2015. So far in the 2017 season just beginning, there has been a 14% decline in viewership.
The kicker is that football has been counted on by Cable networks to save television. Sports games are still better watched live since hearing the score for a recorded game is a major spoiler. When you watch live, it is harder to get around the commercials. But people aren’t watching football as much, not even on alternative providers. The NFL has overplayed its hand in delving into politics.
The good news is, as an individual, you don’t have to be affected by Cable TV one way or the other. You have the power to simply choose alternatives that don’t play into the machine of manipulation, fear, and drivel.
Of course, another great alternative is to read books for entertainment. Go full Farenheight 451, reject the screens which take up whole walls of the living room, and become a literary outlaw.