man watching tv

If you’ve read any of my work over the last couple of years, you will have noticed that I am a firm believer in “cutting the cord”.  No, I’m not referring to people who can’t let go of their reliance on their mothers.  I’m talking about cutting the cord that has been the cable TV business for many years.  I’m a strong proponent of cutting the cord because cable doesn’t have the same viability as it once did.  There’s nothing wrong with admitting that certain technologies eventually run their course.  I mean, think about the progression of the telephone.  While I’m not going to get into the technology behind what’s in a modern telephone, the concept still exists – how can you talk to another person?

But the same can be said for television.  Or at least watching it.  You don’t necessarily need to purchase an expensive package from a cable TV company to be able to watch your favorite shows.  I’m also not suggesting that cord cutting means illegally streaming TV.  I am simply saying that we have the technology now that allows us to watch all the TV that we love, in a different way.  So why are we still subscribing to traditional cable TV?

We’re not.  According to Nielsen, more than 2/3 of homes in the United States have devices that are able to stream video.  I should also point out that Nielsen’s numbers have been shown to be low.  Which means that this number is likely higher, but how high, we just don’t know.  We can thank the increase in connected TVs and devices like Roku, Apple TV and any of Amazon’s Fire TV devices.  These devices are what give us the ability to watch TV through the internet – and what’s not to love about that?

I will admit, I gradually decreased by cable TV package until I was about 75% online, and 25% through the TV.  But then one day, I just stopped it completely and that was about 2 years ago.  Have I missed anything?  Sure, when my parents ask me about a commercial that they always see on TV, but they also enjoy sharing with me what is in the commercial, so maybe I’m not missing anything?  You can watch sports, the news, and other live events online so why do you need cable?

Nielsen is also reporting that only 3% of live TV viewers across the top 5 TV networks are between the ages of 18 and 24.  This implies that younger consumers are no longer watching traditional TV.  Is that a surprise?  Honestly, there are more “channels” designed to attract younger people, like YouTube for example, so why is anyone even surprised by this information.  What is surprising is that only 8% of this same demographic watching content through a connected device.  How is that even possible?  8% seems incredibly low.

Nielsen is also reporting that traditional TV still dominates and accounts for the majority of viewers time spent watching TV.  While I’m not sure that I believe that last part, I think that the industry still needs to change to make it easier for people to take advantage of watching TV online.