Interesting article by AP today, in which they report that eight of nine major cable providers surveyed by AP reported a loss of nearly 196,000 subscribers from April-June. According to the article, this is the first time the group has reported losses. The article goes on to question the effect of the economy and the increasing availability of streaming content on the internet on subscription numbers, and also cites analysts and cable executives who say the reduced subscriber numbers are negligible and that streaming has only a very small impact on the industry.
In my opinion, there are a few possibilities around the corner:
1. Content providers will make it more costly for services like Hulu and Netflix to stream their content;
2. Content providers will implement a longer waiting period before their content is available via streaming in order to encourage people to watch on TV;
3. Content providers will move streaming to their own websites, which some have already done, in order to gain web traffic and ad revenue;
4. Internet providers (which in many cases are the same companies that provide cable TV service) will introduce tiered data prices in an effort to get more revenue from customers who opt to stream programming rather than watch TV via traditional cable; and/or
5. Cable providers will lower their rates to compete with the less costly streaming option (which I see as the least likely possibility).
As for me, I’m going strong with cable for now even though Cablevision is ripping me off. I watch every Rangers game, about 6-8 golf tournaments a year, some football, and late night talk shows, most of which are not available (or not available live) via streaming. Plus, even though I have every Seinfeld episode on DVD, it just isn’t the same as watching it on TV….