The latest dire statistics to show just how doomed cable television is came this week via informitv, a consultancy and communications firm which advises corporate and private clients on the television and video services industries. This week, informitiv published its latest Multiscreen Index which tracks trends in television subscriptions worldwide, and the numbers aren’t too promising for anyone still owning cable TV stock. It turns out that cable is losing 14,000 subscribers each day. The real burning question here is: who still pays for cable?
There are actually still a number of good reasons to have cable, chief among them the unequal availability of broadband internet. Still, cable subscribers are jumping ship at record rates around the nation. How long can cable last losing 14,000 customers a day? It’s not just cable, though; the latest informitiv Multiscreen Index shows that pay TV services across the board lost subscribers – even some streaming television packages. In the first quarter alone, Comcast lost 107,000 subscribers, Charter Spectrum lost 152,000 customers, and DISH Network lost 266,000 subscribers. The only pay TV service in informitiv’s study to gain subscribers was Sling TV, which gained 7,000.
“There were losses across the top 10 television services in the United States, with even the DIRECTV NOW online service losing customers following previous heavy promotion,” said Dr. William Cooper, the editor of the informitv Multiscreen Index. “Between them, they lost over one-and-a-quarter million subscribers in three months. They still command a significant number of customers but the rate of attrition has increased,” Cooper added.
Nearly 82 million consumers still pay for pay TV, so even at the current rate, it will take a few more years for cable to completely disappear. In some ways, it will be sad to see cable go, sort of the same way it’s sad to throw away a pair of ripped, old jeans. Lots of good times were had in those jeans.
As technologies fade away and make way for new ones, so too fade away the experiences we’re accustomed to. Remember channel surfing? It really was a great way to discover new things to watch. Trying to recreate that experience on a visual interface with menus just isn’t the same. Remember when buffering and poor signal strength never was an issue? Cable was pretty rock solid. Are we sure we want to go all in for streaming?