Netflix is the great and powerful Oz in the land of video streamers. The booming demand for video streaming services has been giving cable TV a run for its money.
More people are cutting cable out of their lives and out of their budget. Consumers are deciding that pricey cable subscriptions just aren’t worth the money that goes into them, especially when there are cheaper alternatives out there to choose from.
Everyone knows about the mighty Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus (the Big 3, as I like to call them), which offer a vast collection of movies, TV shows, and original series for a more affordable price than cable does.
Just this year, 40% of US homes with a broadband or Internet connection use a streaming subscription. Compared to 2013, this is a four percent rise in video streaming subscribers. In addition to that, TV ratings have gone down by 40%. There’s no doubt that video streamers like the Big 3 have been seizing the opportunity to draw customers in with their alluring deals.
How the Big 3 Are Appealing to the Crowds
The Big 3, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus, offer streaming services for under $10 per month. Compared to the costs of cable (sometimes over $100/month), video streamers are even more appealing. They’ve even begun to make award-winning original series like Netflix’s House of Cards. Netflix makes whole seasons available at once and on-demand, which is incredibly convenient for those of us who may like to binge watch episodes.
Not to mention that video streamers are contract-free and don’t have any type of cancellation fees. Cable companies still implement cancellation fees for terminating their services; those are on top of any other hidden fees associated with cable contracts.
Cable companies just aren’t offering what customers want. Subscribers are living in an age of convenience. People want shows that they can stream or watch live, and having to wait for your shows or to pay for extra channels (like HBO) can be annoying and inconvenient. Many consumers are only willing to pay prices they find reasonable for exactly what they want, and won’t pay for extras that they will never use—as is the case with cable providers.
Catching Up to the Great and Powerful Oz
There are a few drawbacks to subscribing to one of the Big 3 or other video streamers. First and certainly foremost, streaming services generally don’t air live shows. Hulu Plus airs shows the day after they appear on TV, and Amazon Prime airs programs five days later, while Netflix airs seasons an entire year after they premiere on TV. Certainly, this isn’t convenient for those with a fix on addictive shows like The Walking Dead or Jane the Virgin.
Another potential deal-breaker for the Big 3 is that they haven’t found a way to corner the market on live sports. Fans of the great American sport, football, would surely miss the thrill of watching a touchdown during the Super Bowl. The booming American fan base for soccer would also be disappointed with the Big 3. Surely, soccer fans wouldn’t want to miss out on the World Cup.
Unfortunately for the cable companies, they are still losing out to digital video streaming.
However, cable providers aren’t exactly outdated. In order to keep up with the changing preferences for entertainment, cable providers and even TV networks have initiated streaming options. Some major companies offer live streaming of sports and other programs for their subscribers. In regard to television networks, HBO has developed HBO Now, an instant streaming option for its subscribers, and CBS has created an SVOD (Streaming Videos On Demand) program. Meanwhile, NBC and Showtime are working on making their planned streaming programs available to their customers.
Still, with the few adjustments that cable has been making, there’s much left to be desired. Watching the Big 3 battle against Cable TV will, without a doubt, be its own form of entertainment.