Streaming services are cutting out cable and that’s OK

Netflix screen showing shows from a variety of genres. Photo credit: Soyra Mokashi

A comparison of streaming services and traditional cable TV would indicate that though the latter has been the norm for more than half a century, streaming services are more convenient and more cost-efficient than cable.

An annual report on consumer habits published by Convergence Research Group predicts the number of Canadian households paying for at least one streaming video service will eclipse traditional TV subscribers at the end of 2020. According to the report, the increasing popularity of an array of streaming services is leading to a gradual shift in where viewers invest their money.

Cable may boast of over a 100 channels but a person rarely watches every single one of them. On the other hand, streaming services offer a large variety of shows you can similarly scroll through but watch at any time without the pressure of missing anything. Further, “cutting the cord” means one isn’t glued to their living room couch.

Using a cable subscription only allows one to watch programs available in their country, with a substantial number of channels airing reruns. Streaming services, however, have diverse offerings from all around the world, giving an outlook on narrative arcs internationally.

With Canada becoming more diverse by the day, it also gives immigrants an opportunity to watch programs produced in their home countries that cannot be found on cable.

Streaming services cater to everybody.

Be it drama, action, fantasy or horror, one’s preferred genre of shows and films can easily be found in one simple click. In addition, streaming also offers critically-acclaimed and Oscar-winning content exclusive to a particular service, such as Netflix’s Stranger Things.

Last year, Netflix announced their biggest price increase in order to fund original programs and make overall improvements. The monthly rate for a basic plan now costs a dollar more at $9.99 while the standard and premium plans cost $3 more at $13.99 and $16.99 respectively.

This sparked widespread complaints about the streaming service, with people forgetting they are still only paying a fraction of an average cable bill, which is around $70 to $90 per month.

Even with subscribing to a number of services like Amazon Prime Video ($7.99), Disney Plus ($8.99) and CraveTV ($9.99), the total cost is considerably lesser than a cable or satellite subscription.

According to Nielsen Media Research (NMR), an hour-long program on cable runs around 42 minutes, while the remaining airtime is dedicated to ads. With streaming services, commercial breaks are non-existent.

The lack of advertising not only saves time, but also saves viewers from watching annoying ads.

Viewers only waste time with their indecision. It takes time to zero in on a show and decide to watch it.

The quick rise of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney Plus and more are gradually killing cable TV.

Unless cable providers make changes to the current system, they will vanish.

Much like black and white screens, cable TV will eventually be a thing of the past to be fondly remembered but duly rejected.