The masses are not going to be cutting cable anytime soon. Despite a Cavalcade of stories especially at the beginning of Any Given year that 30 and 40 million people are considering don’t expect to see your local Cable office boarding up. It’s because every year millions of people say they are going to drop cable yet around 85% of Americans pay for satellite and cable services. we are not saying that there aren’t certainly people canceling. The number of subscribers used to be more round 95%. You can track an obvious to climb in cord cutting. You can also see that the younger generation people in their 20s early 30s are avoiding cable in large numbers.
People think it is cheaper than it is
In order for there to be numbers on the scale of 35 million something substantial would have to change. First off people have to stop believing that their internet will be cheaper if they have cable. Many many stories concerning the price of cable report that cable customers pay less for their internet. In many cases this is because many cable companies especially with intro offers allow large discounts on cable and internet at the same time well usually throwing in she almost irrelevant digital phone services too.
Before people really start canceling cable in mass you will need to see all of those intro offers go away. A recent development that may start becoming a trend in the industry is spectrum recently decided to stop offering specials for existing customers. And Comcast is cheering the idea on saying that the customers have been taking advantage of these gigantic powerful corporations. So it’s possible that the days of $99.00 cable internet and phone may be going by the wayside.
Once this is no longer something that can be mistakenly assumed as the norm or factored in as far as the average price of cable, national perception on price and value could begin to change. If that happens across the country and across providers you could see a much bigger chunk of people say this just isn’t worth the money anymore. But there are some other major things that have to happen before you see 20 30 40 million people drop cable at the same time.
Pay attention to the ratings
First of all you would have to see a gigantic drop in the ratings for cable basic programming. There have certainly been fewer people watching cable channels than before especially for non live events. What I’m talking about would be something along the lines of Keeping Up with the Kardashians receiving quarter of the ratings and it did from a season before for existing customers. Because this could mean that despite the fact that people have cable that in fact they are not watching it anymore. This would have to happen across the cable channel lineup.
If ratings go down because people don’t have the service that’s a completely different issue. Why is that such a key factor in my mind? Because people have been complaining about the price of cable for a long time and yet it’s still the way the majority of Americans watch TV. It’s kind of like people saying “McDonald’s is unhealthy I never go there” and yet you never see a closed McDonald’s. Restaurants use same store sales to see how effective a restaurant is from year to year and quarter-to-quarter. So despite the fact that people moan about the cost of TV, at the moment they appear to enjoy pay TV too much to leave it behind. As long as people feel like they can’t live without specific shows on specific channels getting rid of the big bundle is going to seem hard. On the other hand if someone has to ask themselves “Why am I still paying for this” the answer may be, “I shouldn’t.
People really don’t mind spending money
People will always justify the cost of something if they like it. People pay for lots of expensive things. People over pay for shoes, clothes, expensive restaurants, meal kits, cell phones and more. Brands like Michael Kors can charge 300.00 for a pocketbook and be one of the most popular brands in the country. So cable may feel like a value proposition for anybody who thinks they need access to lots and lots of channels all the time. Even if in reality they only watch 5-10.
A rise in streaming device sales
Something else people should look at is growth in sales of streaming devices. Most TV’s offer some sort of app suite. Therefore the vast majority of TV’s sold are streaming devices. The difference between those who own streaming devices and those who own say, a Samsung Smart TV, is that people who buy streaming devices are buying the because they want to use streaming apps. While on the other hand people buying smart TV’s may just need a new TV or see a good sale, but then hook them up to a pay TV service. If sales of Roku products, Fire TV, Apple TV and Android TV were to see huge gains, that might imply that people were experimenting with other TV delivery services.
A leap in broadcast TV delivery
At the moment people who live in municipalities and have clear access to broadcast signals can find that network TV gives them what they want the most, live local news, the local NFL team, college regional sports, and most of the top rated shows on TV. But there are a lot of headaches that can go along with using an antenna from adjusting them, weather related issues and placement. Also users either see the TV or they do not. There is no such thing as a fuzzy picture like the old days. And there are numerous challenges for people in mountain areas, valleys, or those who live in more far flung areas. If ATSC 3.0 allows for a perfect picture and increases the number of channels and choices for users without pay TV there could be a larger number of people checking into their options. If users realize yes they can watch The Super Bowl, their favorite Network shows, and other content without spending a penny they may be much more willing to stop paying a pretty one.
I can tell you from conversations with people in general that there is very little knowledge about streaming options and even devices outside of the “cord cutting” community. One of the most common questions I get about Roku for instance is “how much does it cost per month for Roku?” Many people are shocked to find out you can get HBO without cable. And it’s for good reason. The cable companies spend a lot more money to tell people that they are the only way to go than all of the different devices and services do to advertise their products. Have you ever seen a Roku commercial during a football game? People will continue to ignore and or miss the opportunity to save or cut pay TV services as long as the products and services needed to do so are stuck in the niche community instead of front and center.
So until you see more of the kinds of things we covered in this list happening don’t expect people to get on the phone, spend an hour working to cancel TV, Figure out all of the varied services and so on much less navigate the arguments that could come from “Well how will I watch _______”, you are not going to see millions walk away. More likely you will continue to see a million or so per year till an eventual breaking point.