Should Cable TV Be a Thing of the Past?

With the price of cable TV rising year after year, it’s no wonder that the question on many American’s lips is: When can I finally ditch my cable? The figurative “death” of traditional cable television has certainly felt like it’s been a long time coming, but it seems that subscription services haven’t put an end to things quite yet.

Well over half of the households in the United States use popular entertainment video services like Netflix and Hulu, but it appears that many are using them as add-ons; not as complete replacements for cable. After all, the cable TV market hasn’t suffered the losses that one might think. According to The Economist, the attrition rate is hardly significant; only about 1 percent per year, despite sky rocketing prices.

In 1995, for example, the cost of cable averaged out at around $22.35 per month. Now it’s $69.03. An FCC report via CordCutting illustrates that this price increase is astronomical— about double the rate of inflation.

Compounding that is Americans’ general malaise towards the subject of cable TV providers in general. One of the most popular national cable and satellite providers, DISH Network, has an extremely poor customer rating of just 1 star on the Consumer Affairs website. Many of the complaints cite early termination fees on long contracts, pricey equipment rental, faulty technology, billing errors and, most of all, poor service.

Netflix, FreeSeeTV – A Look at Alternatives to Cable

netflix on an ipad
Source: Flickr

Of course, there are many alternatives to cable television on the market today, and consumers are starting to take notice. Services like FreeSeeTV, for instance, allow subscribers to consume all of the entertainment that can be watched including traditional programming. It also features on demand movies and TV shows.

Since it’s becoming more and more obvious that traditional television is on a downward trend, the unanimous response that has come from these major players is to offer “bundle packages”—internet, cable, and a phone line at a discounted rate. The only problem is the last element to the offer; the phone line.

As with cable, phone lines are slowly becoming a thing of the past. In fact, many young adults have never even owned a landline. These “cord-nevers”—a term used among network executives to describe tech-savvy Millennials—have found ways to avoid ever signing up for television, whether it be through legitimate streaming services, like TVFrog or Netflix, through the uses of cable antennas like TVFox, or through illegal online piracy.

Curiously enough, the problem for the networks and service providers might have nothing at all to do with price or reliability—it may have everything to do with content. It’s true that the young generation is more adept to consuming entertainment in smaller doses.

Take viral videos for instance; most are under five minutes and have hundreds of millions of views—a number that dwarfs the size of any network television show.