Cutting the cord: The extinction of cable TV
By Ashley Meikle, Staff Writer
A new survey found that cable TV may be heading the way of the dinosaurs. Media Technology Monitor reported that 1 in 7 Canadians said they are likely to cancel their cable television service in favor of low-cost or free alternatives.
The survey found that “cutting the cord” is often tied to a preference for online services that offer convenience and view control. Media Technology Monitor reported that 42 per cent of respondents watched a television program online or through an on-demand Internet streaming service in the past month. This number was up 10 per cent from the previous year. The study also found that 21 per cent of Canadians subscribe to Netflix. Again, this is double the number who subscribed in 2012.
What is it about online services that are so appealing to viewer? The top reason is convenience. Why wait for Sunday night to roll around to catch the latest episode of Games of Thrones when episodes can be streamed at times that fit with personal schedules?
Another perk is that many online programming services are commercial free. This cuts down on the amount of time it takes to watch a full episode. Have twenty minutes to kill before you run out the door? That’s plenty of time to watch the latest episode of Modern Family.
A final benefit that is often overlooked is that fact that online sites connect viewers to a global fan base. For instance, many British TV shows (think Downton Abbey) are often aired in Canada months after they are shown in the UK. With online streaming services, viewers around the world can watch episodes at the same time and share their opinions with one another online.
With all the perks of online television services, it’s time to question if cable TV is a relic of the past. Will it go the way of the landline, or will cable service providers unroll a new and innovative way to catch viewers’ attention and reel them back in? Only time will tell.
Ashley is currently studying Corporate Communications at Seneca College in Toronto, Ontario and she is seriously considering cutting the cord.