For years, the cable industry and satellite television have fluffed off the idea that consumers can't live without television in the truest sense.
Giants like Comcast and Direct TV scoffed at the idea that they would be unseated from their perch that was dominating entertainment options and making billions of dollars on your cable and internet service, hand over fist.
Even the infancy of streaming services and the low cost model didn't make anyone sweat.
Until now, perhaps.
More and more, cash strapped consumers are taking their hundreds of dollars on their cable bills and putting that money back in their pocket. Now, they're opting for a cheaper alternative: streaming. Sites like Netflix and Hulu make it easy to have some sort of entertainment, and the masses, once captivated by cable, aren't so much interested in having 500 channels with very little on, but instead want to spend $15 to have a selection of television shows and movies.
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While Comcast and Direct TV haven't felt much affect from a subscription standpoint (still enough for them to finally take notice), some networks are losing money on this deal. ESPN comes to mind immediately, as the sports giant has started laying off employees and have watched their viewership hit the proverbial wall.
If networks and even the cable and satellite companies aren't convinced that their perch is now precarious, they need only to look at the influx of subscribers to streaming services, even their once loyal networks, which are looking into ways to shield themselves should the bottom drop out of cable as w know it.
Some networks have talked about offering an exclusive, pay per month streaming service that will insulate them should their subscriber count on cable and satellite start to dwindle. ESPN is one of those networks, along with Showtime. They're almost assuming that two things are going to happen: more people are going to cutting cable from their budgets and in turn will look to have what entertainment they want on their terms, sort of an a la carte type mentality.
And that mentality is something customers have been crying out for quite some time, and only now is it starting to be heard around the world. If ESPN is starting to feel the affects of their network dwindling, others undoubtedly will follow.
Imagine a world where networks of all shapes and sizes start to offer their programming as streaming services, and the customer wins because they can pick and choose what they want. What seemed like insanity less than a decade ago might be the reality that is sorely missing from television.
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