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Television Businesses Movies Stats The Internet

Streaming TV Sites Now Have More Subscribers Than Cable TV (axios.com) 47

Nielsen reported this week that millennials "spend about 27% less time watching traditional TV than viewers over the age of 35," possibly threatening the dominance of cable TV. An anonymous reader quotes Axios: Streaming service subscribers (free or paid) increased again (68% in 2016 vs. 63% in 2014) and have caught up with the percentage of paid TV service providers (67%) for the first time ever, according to the Consumer Technology Association's new study, The Changing Landscape for Video and Content. The rise of streaming services represents a shift in consumption habits towards cord-cutting, primarily amongst millennials.
Some other trends are impossible to ignore. 2016 also saw a saw dramatic drops in the use of physical disks -- from 41% in 2015 to just 28% -- as well as another big drop in the use of antennas, from 18% to just 10%.
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Streaming TV Sites Now Have More Subscribers Than Cable TV

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  • but when..... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 05, 2017 @11:41AM (#53979929)

    will the traditional cable and satellite companies 'see the light'?

    fine print... term contracts or 'bundles' for the 'best' pricing.. higher prices for long-term customers than for new ones... bogus below-the-line 'fees'.. high hardware rental costs.. rate hikes constantly that defy logic and outpace inflation several times over... encrypted basic channels no clearqam.. shitty customer service... and even worse billing policies and practices.

    fix all that and you might stop bleeding subscribers.

    • by ls671 ( 1122017 )

      will the traditional cable and satellite companies 'see the light'?

      Sure, they are already investing in streaming sites to close the loop.

      • There was an attempt in Canada by cable providers to start a streaming service called 'Shomi'. That lasted around a year and they decided there wasn't enough money to be made from it and they closed it down.
        • CraveTV is still there, though.

        • by Mandrel ( 765308 )
          I can understand why a streaming service couldn't make money. Streaming is moving the power away from distributors and towards program creators. Even Netflix has realised their vulnerability by getting so heavily into originals.
        • Shomi was solely from Shaw Communications.

          What they realized is they can make more money licensing their few shows to the competition (CraveTV, owned by Bell), without the overhead of having to run a internet based streaming media service.

          Shaw now advertises the CraveTV service to their customers. I'm guessing they are getting paid for that, too.

          Bell is much, much bigger than Shaw.

      • Cox has a one year 50Mbps and Contour package for $99 after taxes. You can stream all of the channels in your package on the iOS app. My wife actually watches less on the TV now (compare to our previous OTA setup) and just stream the live channels on her iPad. The app is much better than the cable box. It's faster, easier to use and only shows the channels you subscribed.

    • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @12:13PM (#53980047)

      with the end of net neutrality, the internet will become a set of bundled channels like cable. The only difference is going to be it's now asyncronous transmission.

    • Don't forget, randomly changing your package without telling you. Removing channels (usually the ones you actually watch) putting them in a higher package.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @11:55AM (#53979971) Journal
    Adding up subscribers to free streaming channels and comparing it to cable channels subscribers is not correct. All cable subscribers are paid subscribers. They get counted once. The same guy who creates an user id in 10 streaming channels is counted as 10 subscribers. There is only one metric. Total revenue.

    Add up all the cable tv subscription fees and ad revenue from all the tv channels. Add up all the subscription fees and ad revenue of streaming channels. Are they within even an order of magnitude?

    • Because they're tired of paying $80/mo for cable because it's the only way to get a couple dozen channels they want, but the cheapest bundle that includes those channels comes with hundreds of other channels they're not interested in. Whereas the streaming services offer more granular selection which lets you pick and choose those channels you want for $30/mo, because they're not bundled with a bunch of expensive sports channels you never watch.

      So revenue is a bad metric to use too. The best metric wou
      • Because they're tired of paying $80/mo for cable because it's the only way to get a couple dozen channels they want, but the cheapest bundle that includes those channels comes with hundreds of other channels they're not interested in. Whereas the streaming services offer more granular selection which lets you pick and choose those channels you want for $30/mo, because they're not bundled with a bunch of expensive sports channels you never watch.

        Random story which may elucidate why this is wrong:

        I played World of Warcraft back in the classic days, and used to get pretty miffed when I saw +Spell Damage on a piece of armour instead of +Frost Damage; after all, why waste precious stat points on all those elements my frost mage wasn't going to use? Bollocks to that +33 Spell Damage item, it should ditch the other elements and become a +40 Frost Damage one.

        My view was a bit naive, I'll admit. The game was balanced around the amount of bonus damage the e

    • Or check the lack of revenue. Like the people going to the library for their "disks". If paid services were more reasonably priced, less people would go the library route. Yesterday on my way to work I passed a library. 15 minutes before opening there were 20 people outside -- and more than one demographic. These aren't streamers, or cable, watchers.
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Nielsen are being tricky buggers because they are hiding a statistic. That being how much viewing time has been lost to computer gaming and how that is spreading among a much wider age group. Reality is it TV vs Cable vs Streaming vs Gaming. All take time, all occur at similar times and all compete for the end users time. The one that is really taking over is Gaming. Losers are first and foremost cable (paying to watch commercials), commercial filled public transmissions, commercial less streaming services

    • I happen to pay for CRTV, but also donate through various means to certain people that provide free videos on Youtube. Those people are not monetized like TV, so you can't count revenue. I can count several dozen people with 600,000+ thousand subscribers who don't get monetized for most of their work.

      Revenue is a horrible way to determine who's watching, view count is much more accurate. CNN makes more money than Joe Rogan, but Joe has more viewers on any given show. Most cable news (CNN/MSNBC) shows ha

    • Adding up subscribers to free streaming channels and comparing it to cable channels subscribers is not correct. All cable subscribers are paid subscribers. They get counted once. The same guy who creates an user id in 10 streaming channels is counted as 10 subscribers.

      Huh, where did you find that? TFA talks about percentage of subscribers, not percentage of subscriptions, and doesn't go into any more detail. Do you have better information? For studies like this, the devil is in the details.

      Regarding revenue, you have a point. Money talks, bull$**t walks. But if the trend is towards only having streaming subscriptions, that's kinda important for the cable operators to know. That's exactly what we saw in music. CDs used to be huge business, song downloads started killing t

    • The totals are not important, it's the trajectory. Streaming services are increasing in all metrics and have been for long enough now that it's a concrete trend. In some of those metrics, streaming is starting to pass cable. Cable is stagnant or decreasing on all metrics, and is only artificially supported by internet services.

      That's the news here.

      You can cherry-pick a metric and make cable tv look more profitable than streaming right now, but that doesn't change the fact that sometime in the near future,

  • There is a typo in TFS:

    2016 also saw a saw dramatic drops in the use of physical disks.

    It should read:
    "2016 also saw a saw saw dramatic drops in the use of physical disks." Like in "I see a saw sawing" since a saw was apparently used.

  • The millennials are like, "We don't care if you show ads, it just gives us more time to check Facebook, and lets the content be free". The advertisers are like, "F*&%^#".
  • I don't understand people who buy them. You not only pay more for the discs, you buy shelves to put them on, rent a bigger apartment for the shelves, pack more boxes when you move, and spend more time looking for that one disc with the movie you want to watch.
  • I suspect less people are watching broadcast news.

    I think more people are getting their news from twitter, and youtube, and other internet sources.

    MSM ratings, and credibility are tanking; as I understand it.

  • by TimHunter ( 174406 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @02:06PM (#53980495)
    My wife & I are >60 and watch Netflix and Amazon exclusively. Neither of us can bear watching any TV program with commercials.
    • My wife & I are >60 and watch Netflix and Amazon exclusively. Neither of us can bear watching any TV program with commercials.

      This is why I dropped cable/dish. I briefly tried DirecTV Now but saw they had commercials and canceled after the first month. Commercials are definitely part of the problem.

  • by OneHundredAndTen ( 1523865 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @03:24PM (#53980899)
    I haven't had cable, satellite or antenna for a decade now, and there is no way in hell I would go back to traditional TV. While I object to commercials, I object even more strenuously to artificial scarcity. I want all content available everywhere, all the time, at reasonable prices. As long as content owners refuse to comply, piracy will thrive. As for live events, they are vastly overrated - a few hours old recording is just as good, most of the time. I hope that traditional TV will pass away ASAP.
    • by Mandrel ( 765308 )
      Antenna has the advantage of both being free and recordable. Sure, you can't immediately get what you want, but it's easy to build up a never-exhausted queue of good stuff to watch when you're in the mood.
      • >but it's easy to build up a never-exhausted queue of good stuff to watch when you're in the mood.

        I don't know about that - I've built what I consider to be a fairly large collection of basically every movie or television show I've enjoyed in the last 30 years or so (since I started caring at all about what I watched).

        You know what? I find I'm almost always more willing to spend a lot of time hunting for something new than to spend a little time to select something I already have.

        Most of the stuff I hav

  • You'd think the cable monopolies would see this, but they don't.

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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