It is the beginning of the end for expensive cable and satellite services. It seems like more of the younger generation is deciding to “cut the cord”, choosing to stream all of their entertainment instead of paying out the nose for a TV service. As soon as I graduate and am living on my own, I will probably do the same. Content providers need to recognize this trend, and make their shows and movies more easily available online.
The main problem with cable and satellite services is that most customers end up paying for way more content than what they actually want. The customers have to buy channels in packages at a high price, but usually leave most of those channels unwatched. On top of that, they have to sit through commercial breaks that seem to be longer and occur more frequently than ever before. Contrast that experience with watching a show on Netflix or even Hulu: Netflix has no commercials at all, while Hulu’s breaks are definitely shorter than the ones on TV. Plus, both services offer instant streaming of a wide assortment of content, and have a better selection than what any cable or satellite on-demand service can offer.
Services such as Sling TV are attempting to solve the problem of paying for unwanted content by offering their channels “a la carte.” Consumers can pay for much more specialized channel packages at a much lower price than other providers, and be able to stream their content across multiple types of devices. While this is a step in the right direction, it is still not as beneficial to the consumer as being able to choose individual channels or even stream individual programs at an even lower cost.
At this point, the only use I have for a cable service is for watching live sports. As a big college football and hockey fan, if I were to ditch cable I would not be able to watch the vast majority of the games I want to see. Virtually every NHL game is on cable, and only a small percentage of college football games are broadcast over the air
However, I predict that this situation will not persist for much longer. Sports leagues are slowly realizing the potential and consumer’s preference in streaming content. Hopefully they will make more of their games available online, and customers can receive the same viewing experience through their internet connection that they have known for years through their TV, at a fraction of the cost (or even for free).
Related to the sports issue, the current system of content delivery for the professional leagues is outdated and unfair. Specifically, the limitations on watching out of market games are arbitrary and detrimental to the fans. As an example, I am from Boston and a fan of all their teams, but I obviously live in Atlanta for school. NFL games are broadcast over the air for free, but each game is only available in certain markets. If I want to watch my Patriots on Sunday afternoons, the NFL demands that I sign up for DirecTV so that I can use their expensive NFL Sunday Ticket service. Instead of watching for free, I would have to pay $240 ($15 per game!) to see my team simply because I live in a different area of the country. In an age where streaming services are at an all-time high, these archaic policies simply do not make sense. Hopefully in the near future, we will see more content creators make their works more easily accessible to everyone.