Watching TV Is Becoming Obsolete

The number of people paying for TV and Internet is shrinking — but that doesn’t mean people are giving up their favorite shows.

Except for a brief time — during the Olympics in August 2012 — TV ratings have been dropping for more than two years.

So says Business Insider, citing analysis from Citi Research. Major TV providers lost a combined 113,000 subscribers in the last quarter. Tally up the numbers going back to the beginning of 2010, and about 5 million people have dropped their subscriptions to cable and broadband.

Ratings for both broadcast and cable are down, Business Insider says. So are ratings for some major TV events, including the World Series and NBA Finals. You might think people are just less interested in those sports these days, but that’s not the whole story.

“We’re at the beginning of a major historical shift from watching TV to watching video — including TV shows and movies — on the Internet or on mobile devices,” Business Insider says. About 40 percent of all YouTube traffic comes from mobile devices, while the number of people who watch any TV at all has been declining since 2010.

The cable companies may even be accelerating their own demise. “Even though cable TV has had its worst year ever, cable TV revenues are still rising because companies are charging the dwindling number of customers more in subscription fees,” Business Insider says. As more people decide it’s not worth the money, they’ll cut the cord too — and we’ve been explaining how in stories and videos like the one below.

While it’s conceivable that broadband Internet service could help cable companies, Business Insider says those numbers are dropping too. Instead, consumers are increasingly using free Wi-Fi to catch shows and movies they like. At least 57 U.S. cities offer free wireless Internet, plus tons of businesses don’t mind you hanging out and using theirs.

Have you dropped your cable or broadband subscriptions? Are you considering it? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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  • ModernMode

    A few months ago I dropped from Basic analog to antenna service. It’s more of a pain to find the cable shows I like but I’m saving $64.00 per month. That’s $768.00 per year. Short of ala carte cable becoming a reality, I doubt I’ll ever go back.

    • davessworks

      Did the same thing about ten years ago (although I had more than basic). Kinda shocking when you think how much money that is. I still have to pay my cable provider for my internet however :-(.

  • Kent

    Cable and internet companies are going to have to go after the advertisers to pay for the subscriptions. There is so much advertising taking up time on cable and bandwidth on internet that both should be free to the user.

  • D Lowrey

    With 4 TV tuners on my PC…I record whatever my shows are on OTA (Over-the-Air) TV and edit out the commercials. With several huge hard drives to put this programming…I usually spend my free time during breaks from teaching and in the summer to watch marathons of whatever I want to watch. Plus…without the commercials…I don’t lose about 20-25 minutes per hour of the stupid commercials. Along with that…am running XBMC (Xbox Media Center on the TV Tuner PC) and have a Roku box with a Netflix subscription hooked to a 32 inch TV.

    My monthly outlay to watch what I want…less than $10 a month. No commercials to waste 20-25 minutes of my time every hour and on-demand. What more can you ask for?

  • suz

    Dropped cable, got antenna, added wi fi to landline company with no additional cost because contract was up. Now getting exactly what I like with Netflix and Acorn and saving more than $100 a month. Happier, healthier, wiser.

  • Lisa

    Not to mention all the REALITY SHOWS…hate those! I mean seriously. do we need a thousand of them? :) I miss Westerns!

  • Terance Soohwan Kim

    When I was a child I remember watching TV for hours on Saturday mornings, eating cereal, and waiting for my favorite show to come on. As I waited I would flip between several channels trying to find a cartoon to watch, and avoid the cartoons that I didn’t like. Sometimes though you would get a block of cartoons that you couldn’t skip, like care bears on one channel and my little pony on the other, and would have to be forced into watching the lesser of the two evils. I also remember having to change my schedule at times in order to watch something on TV, for example a basketball game that starts at a certain time, or the season premiere of a show that I’ve been following for months. With the advance in technology though, how we use TV has changed dramatically in a very short time, some say enough to threaten the future of TV’s.

    This may be true when it comes to how we used to watch TV by sitting for hours on end waiting for our program, all the while enduring endless commercials. As they argue that ratings have only gone down, and doesn’t include usage. Now with such advances in technology we can browse the internet on our TV’s and literally stream anything we could imagine, or watch endless hours of a show without commercial interruptions on Netflix, we have the luxury of not having to wait. I would agree that perhaps cable and dish companies are losing customers due to these emerging sources of technology that allows for more options, but more importantly at a cheaper cost. Though, I argue that TV is very much alive, the technology just allows us more ways to connect to different sources of media.

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