STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Are We Witnessing the Death Spiral of Cable Television?
By The Daily Bell Staff - September 18, 2017

Cable television has long been the coveted propaganda arm used to program American sentiments. But because of the internet, viewer choice for news, sports, and entertainment has proliferated. Content is becoming decentralized, and that makes it harder to control the attitudes of the masses.

Since 2013, pay tv subscriptions have been declining, losing more customers than they gain. Over one million people per year are fleeing from paying for cable TV from companies like Verizon, Time Warner, and Comcast.

For three straight years, the viewership of the Emmy’s has declined. Yet while cable networks broadcast the award show, original Hulu and HBO shows were winning the awards.

You don’t need a cable subscription to watch shows on Netflix, HBO Now, or Hulu. While Netflix and Hulu run some cable shows, they also produce their own content. This doesn’t automatically mean the content won’t be akin to the typical propaganda on cable. But it does mean that control over programming is more decentralized. This includes the FCC’s slipping grip, as they have thus far failed to seriously regulate online programming.

Now consumers have a choice. Youtube offers even more choices which allow independent and much smaller content producers to disseminate their shows. Owned by Google, there is plenty to criticize when it comes to Youtube. They arbitrarily remove certain content that they don’t like. But this will just bolster alternatives like Vimeo and DailyMotion.

Amazon also offers subscription programming that goes along with their Prime program. Like Netflix, they are investing in making their own TV shows and movies to better compete with all the alternatives. An Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial lets you see what they got before committing.

And whatever issues you may have with companies like Youtube and Amazon, there are now plenty other options available, with more coming.

An exciting new startup called BadMirror.tv will soon go live. The company aims to tackle programming from a community perspective. They offer “hyperlocal broadcasting” that is boosted based on popularity but always starts locally. BadMirror.tv seeks to reconnect people to their community so that a handful of big executives–and whoever is influencing them–can’t centralize control over content, and decide what will be popular.

Pride comes before the fall.

A user base can vanish quickly when customers no longer get what they want from a business, and have plenty of alternatives.

And we should expect viewers to go elsewhere as their favorite content starts leaving a bad taste in their mouth. For years, football has enjoyed tremendous ratings, insulated from the decline of other cable programming. But viewers have recently been turned off by excessive political correctness from the NFL, as well as protest displays from pro-football players which many view as unpatriotic and disrespectful to law enforcement.

Overall viewership for the 2016 NFL season was down 8% per game, an average of 1.4 million fewer viewers per game compared to 2015. So far in the 2017 season just beginning, there has been a 14% decline in viewership.

The kicker is that football has been counted on by Cable networks to save television. Sports games are still better watched live since hearing the score for a recorded game is a major spoiler. When you watch live, it is harder to get around the commercials. But people aren’t watching football as much, not even on alternative providers. The NFL has overplayed its hand in delving into politics.

The good news is, as an individual, you don’t have to be affected by Cable TV one way or the other. You have the power to simply choose alternatives that don’t play into the machine of manipulation, fear, and drivel.

Of course, another great alternative is to read books for entertainment. Go full Farenheight 451, reject the screens which take up whole walls of the living room, and become a literary outlaw.

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Posted in STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
  • NoMeansNo

    Paying an exhorbident cable bill for 500 channels of chrome plated crap loses its luster after a while.

  • mrbeach17

    Cable TV is one of the biggest rip offs that ever existed. So goes for Direct TV and dish Network. I have an antenna on top of my roof and I get 44 channels that do not cost me one red cent. Up yours to the establishment of money grubbing fools!!!

  • paul crosley

    We cancelled cable a couple of years ago when we bought an android box that uses Kodi. We have seen more movies now than previously in our lives. Cost is for high speed internet only. Better than paying for cable to watch Jaws 5 times a week.

  • dauden

    Books take up whole walls and rooms in my 6 person family. Our home schoolers have had their fill even if futbol (soccer) has had its inroads on our screen.

  • Don Duncan

    I would have dumped Dish if we didn’t have a monopoly internet provider here (Las Vegas, Century Link). I paid for their highest speed/fiber optics and was told I could stream 3 moves at once. On weekends I can’t stream one. Even online surfing is slow.

    Kodi is great when it works, which is 80% on weekdays. I stopped going to theaters.

  • georgesilver

    What’s cable tv?

  • jackw97224

    The cable companies still provide fiber optics for computers/Internet, so the loss of TV users cuts them a bit but not too badly. I dumped Comcast TV several years ago and don’t miss it. I cut my cable bill by about 1/2 in so doing and make do with radio and with the Internet. I’m looking forward to the day when cable is defunct and we can get the Internet for free.

    • gringott

      I think it does hurt them, I get almost daily flyers in the post trying to get me to sign up for cable, as I have internet only Comcast.

      • jackw97224

        Well, yes, I think you have a good point; I get those flyers almost weekly, too. I hope that the rejection of Cable TV is hurting these companies, as the prices seem way too high. Yes, I understand price, supply and demand and maybe, just maybe, the market is turning against the Cable TV outfits. Maybe people, the demand, is showing that the price is too high.

  • Jef

    We “cut the cord” a few years ago. It was hard to let go of that up to the minute on the latest show, as we were watching probably 4-5 week to week shows. With Netflix, et al, if you start something not finished, then you get to wait around a year for the next season, so we’ve tried to move to watching only series that have been completed/cancelled. Binge watch, no commercials, tip top stuff! Only drawback IMO is that you can’t participate in the watercooler conversation at work about last night’s episode of whatever. I’m sure a few more years of therapy and I’ll be able to get over that :}
    We knew things would eventually wind up a la carte with regards to produced media, and the move saved over 100 federal reserve notes/month, so I purchased the next fastest internet download speeds option (moved from 25-112Mpbs at the time!)
    Fortunately, not big sports people, and they are the only ones I don’t preach cord cutting and free markets to! I have had a colleague complain about the Left swing of ESPN’s SC, which did my heart good, expecting they’d wind up like MSNBC as a result!

  • jackw97224

    Cable TV does not serve the customers very well. When I go to purchase a pair of shoes, the entrepreneur doesn’t tell me I have to buy 500 pairs of shoes to get just a couple pairs, but the Cable TV suppliers only offer the consumer 500 channels so that he can get just the 10 or so channels he needs or wants. As a consumer I would like to just pick those channels I want and not be compelled to buy channels that I don’t want and don’t need and/or find offensive.

  • Gerold

    I got rid of my TV almost 30 years ago (1988) and got a life.
    People sometimes ask me, “Did you watch …?” and I stop them right there.
    No, I don’t watch; I do. It’s amazing how much there is to do when you don’t waste your life watching the Boob Tube.

  • Praetor

    Well, this website uses to talk about Internet Reformation and its effects on society. We can see the effects everyday and cable cutting is an effect. Now, if we could get it to effect politics in this county like it has cable, cutting being the operative word. Then we will be really winning.!!!

  • Alan777

    You don’t need the cable companies to bundle up a few good channels with many lousy or useless channels and charge a premium. All you need is a good internet connection and then you can select your own content at a much lower rate. That’s why they’re losing customers like mad…

  • Mark Foreman

    I cut the cable in 2013 and never looked back.Drastic improvement in overall quality of life for me.

  • Mstrjack

    Frank Zappa – 1973

    I AM THE SLIME

    I AM GROSS AND PERVERTED
    I AM OBSESSED AND DERANGED
    I HAVE EXISTED FOR YEARS
    BUT VERY LITTLE HAS CHANGED

    I AM THE TOOL OF THE GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY TOO
    FOR I AM DESTINED TO RULE AND REGULATE YOU

    I MIGHT BE VILE AND PERNICIOUS
    BUT YOU CAN’T LOOK AWAY
    I MAKE YOU THINK I AM DELICIOUS
    WITH THE THINGS THAT I SAY

    I’M THE BEST YOU CAN GET
    HAVE YOU GUESSED ME YET?
    I AM THE SLIME OOZING OUT
    FROM YOUR TV SET

    YOU WILL OBEY ME WHILE I LEAD YOU
    AND EAT THE GARBAGE THAT I FEED YOU
    UNTIL THE DAY THAT WE DON’T NEED YOU
    DON’T GO FOR HELP … NO ONE WILL HEED YOU

    YOUR MIND IS TOTALLY CONTROLLED
    IT HAS BEEN STUFFED INTO MY MOLD
    AND YOU WILL DO AS YOU ARE TOLD
    UNTIL THE RIGHTS TO YOU ARE SOLD

  • Rosicrucian32

    Overall I think the TV is useless and prefer books.
    Once and awhile we will devolve and watch during the winter because Detroit kind of sucks when it snows (it’s gray…). ROKU does everything we need it to do and has done so for several years.

  • Westcoastliberal

    Cable’s main hold on subscribers at this point is the pipe to the Internet. We Americans get much slower speeds for much higher fees; they’re going to need to get real about their offerings and very soon, otherwise the erosion will continue. A start would be an ala carte channel offering but they’ve been resisting that for decades.

  • Bombaste Von Hohenheim

    I used to work for TCI (Liberty Media/Starz) in the 90’s while working on my Master’s and I had a bumper sticker on my car: Kill your TV. My boss who saw once when I was parked next to his spot on the employee of the month parking and called me to his office where I told him the truth: OK I’m good dope dealer, I sell the product but I don’t use it.

  • teabagger_1

    Got rid of TV years ago and never looked back. Life has also improved tremendously since I purged the propaganda pimps from my living room.

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