Cable television has been around for a long time now and has entertained generations of Americans. It has become a cultural symbol, without which modern lifestyle is not complete. Cable TV delivers hours upon hours of scheduled programming to your households through a network of intricate copper wires. By getting a classic cable subscription and taking advantage of those cost-effective Cox cable deals in your area, you can access hundreds of popular cable networks of a local, regional, and even international variety. Along with most cable TV services, you can enjoy DVR functionality and premium add-ons. This is the reason why people continue to cling to cable even in an era that’s ruled by streaming services.

When streaming TV first made an appearance in the 2000s with the advent of Netflix, it was merely a video distribution service that appealed to a certain subset of American viewers. With time, it refined its technology and streamlined its system to such an extent that more and more people started coming towards it, abandoning their cable connections. Streaming services pined for content licenses, competing with large cable networks while introducing exclusive content with a unique selling value in the media market. Today, almost every household has a streaming service subscription of some sort, which intensifies the competition between streaming services and cable providers. In such a turbulent scenario, it’s only natural to wonder about the future of cable TV. Will it survive the crashing waves or drown like an echo? Let’s see the changes the cable industry might undergo in the upcoming years, with the upheaval in consumer tastes and the growth of streaming TV.

Deconstruction of Cable Packages

Cable companies have always pushed for bundles, selling more to consumers for a relatively less price. This ‘more for less’ formula might have worked at one time, but it’s becoming increasingly outdated with the rise of streaming services. What streaming services do is that they give you exactly what you want to watch for a price that complements the content. Are you a sports fan? Then, you’ll find live games, talk shows, news, and athletic programming on fuboTV, which specializes in sports content distribution, for only $64.99 per month. Similarly, are you interested in shows that have a stark similarity to Game of Thrones? Then, you can subscribe to HBO Max for only $14.99 per month, and get access to everything dark, romantic, and mysterious.

On the other hand, when you look up a cable TV package, you often come across large clusters of channels arranged in the form of ‘tiers’, instead of individual networks. If you wish to get, let’s say Comedy Central, then you have to purchase the entire bundle this channel is a part of, regardless of whether you’ll be watching the hundred other channels that you’ve paid for in the bundle. While consumers may have put up with this schematic arrangement once, they no longer care for it. Streaming TV provides them specific programming and personalized recommendations based on their viewing habits. To compete with this, cable TV will have to let go of its bundling strategy and deconstruct cable packages to offer consumers a more customizable solution that fits their budget and needs. 

Redirection of Ad-based Revenue

How many times have you huffed up in frustration at a TV commercial that broke your flow of entertainment and cut your excitement in half? Countless, right? Advertisements are annoying for the consumers, to say the least, but they are important sources of revenue for cable companies, who can’t help but run them and balance their costs. These ads are one of the reasons why some people turn to streaming services in the first place. When you stream a TV episode or movie on Netflix, for instance, you don’t come across ads. That’s because the ads are embedded in the stream so subtly and seamlessly that you don’t even notice them. So, streaming services do use ads in their model, but they don’t let them ruin the user experience. Cable companies can take a lesson from this and make commercials ‘a thing of the past’ to retain their subscriber count and to outlast the competition in the future. They can turn to a subscription-based model that only airs targeted ads as per the needs of the viewers like most of the streaming services do online. This smart advertising will let cable TV redirect its revenue stream into a more profitable, more user-friendly channel, rather than relying on those despised commercials. 

So, What is the Future of Cable TV?

It may be too soon to say for sure but cable TV will be implementing the aforementioned trends shortly to break the stronghold of streaming TV and to build up its lost subscriber pool. It will, for one, unbundle its channel lineups to focus more on quality rather than quantity, and two, it will let go of its ad-revenue model and invest in a hybrid scheme that appeases both users and the companies. Let’s see what happens.