Why Cable TV is Doomed to Fail
With cable TV companies scrambling to provide live TV streaming services to bolster a sagging bottom line. It may not be enough to stem the tide of customers leaving for lower cost and better streaming TV alternatives.
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome."
Cable TV is going through a major change. This is not new and started several years ago. Customers tired of rising prices and little control of what they could view fell in love with streaming TV technology. This would finally set them free from their big cable TV provider's complete control.
For many years cable TV providers have had a very sweet ride. They controlled the major television markets with the help of studio content providers along with politicians whom they convinced it was in their best interests to limit the market to only a handful of providers.
This gave them complete control over prices, content, commercials and everything else on how we watched TV.
The Internet Changed Everything
With the widespread use of broadband Internet, much of it provided by the same companies that brought us our TV content and unbeknownst to them at the time, it would ultimately cause their TV business to suffer.
For the first-time consumers now had full control of their TV programming and were no longer restricted to only watching content provided to them from cable TV companies. They were now free to choose from several streaming TV providers who had something even better to offer.
Roku, Netflix and a handful of other streaming media companies had the vision to see the future and seize upon this opportunity and ultimately profit from it. The same way PC makers and Microsoft put an end to the popular IBM Selectric typewriter, eventually, streaming television will also put an end to a business model that has worked for cable TV companies since the 1940's.
Cable TV Companies Fight Back
Once the large cable TV and satellite companies finally woke up and realized they had a problem on their hands when quarter after quarter their subscriber numbers looked like the Titanic after hitting an iceberg, it was time for them to fight back. Their knee jerk solution was to offer streamers and cord cutters pretty much more of the same.
Instead of innovating and getting creative, they simply packaging their content the same way they have for many years. By offering a few low-cost promotional packages with no long term commitments and streaming it instead of providing it over cable, they thought they had the perfect solution.
Cord Cutters Now Smarter
Once they had a taste of freedom to choose their content from a long list of content providers, some which have no commercials, cord cutters would not be as easily fooled this time around. Sure, they took advantage of the free Roku, FireTV Stick, or Apple TV promotions which required them to sign up for a short while. Although soon after, many cord cutters quickly canceling this new form of cable TV service when they realized it was not in their best interest. After all, this was still nowhere nearly as nice as what they had become accustomed to as cord cutters.
Back to The Drawing Board for Big Cable
It may take a while for big cable to realize, their plan to offer the same service as before over a different technology will also fail. They are still not listening to their customers. Consumers today are smarter, savvier and more apt to look around for the best deal. Maybe it's because many lived through one of the largest recession in modern times.
They had to learn how to save and cut back on unnecessary expenses, something prior generations going through the good times did not need to do. The YouTube generation growing up today never have know what its like to subscribe to cable. They will also be more inclined to shun higher priced cable TV packages in the future.
What is still unknown is if big cable will have the courage to change strategies and make the changes needed to salvage a failing TV business. Or, will they be doomed as another once great industry that could not change with tims. Only to become a distant memory in the sands of time.
Big Cable Needs to Listen to Their Customers
Cable TV companies only need to listen and their customers who would be happy to tell them what they want. If they want to keep their subscribers and once again gain new ones, this is something they will need to learn to do fast. Customers don't mind paying for a service that offers value and provides excellent service.
Until cable TV companies can give their customers something to get really excited about again, the current trend won't change much and more subscribers will continue leaving for better streaming TV alternatives.
Punishing broadband customers with Data caps won't work for long either. They will soon look elsewhere and new companies will be happy to step-up with new wireless broadband Internet services.
What Streamers Want
They don't want overpriced bundles. They want quality channels and freedom to choose their content. Binge watching on-demand TV shows is quite popular now and watching commercial free, even better. A commercial before the video starts would still be acceptable and much better than 15 minutes of commercials in an hour episode.
Offer an on-demand package which includes the same content as Netflix and Hulu for $15/month. Then include and let customers choose 3 live TV channels from a long list of channels. This gives cable TV customers a sense of control. Additional channels can be offered for $3-$4 a month.
Then leave the price alone for several years. Content providers don't want to play ball? Drop them from your channel list and invest in original content the way Netflix and Amazon did.
This may not bring big cable the profits seen in their glory days, but unless they try something different, they will ultimately be doomed to fail.