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How Big of A Threat is Cord Cutting to Traditional TV in the USA?

It began with Netflix’s streaming service and has now begun a staple in most modern homes: streaming TV shows and movies is becoming more and more common; and with the advances in streaming services, more people are choosing to go ahead with “cord cutting” their traditional cable. In this case, “cord cutting” refers to people who chose to give up their traditional cable services in favor of using streaming services exclusively. But is cord cutting really a big thread to traditional television in the USA? Let’s take a closer look at what cord cutting really means, why people are choosing to cut their cable cords, and what potential ramifications it could have on traditional TV services.

 

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Why People Are Choosing Streaming Services Over Traditional TV

There are three key differences between traditional TV and streaming services which are drawing more and more people to cut their traditional TV cords.  These differences are: price, selection, and scheduling. The most deciding factor for people choosing to cut cable is the cost. Traditional cable TV services typically cost more than streaming services—although people who purchase subscriptions to multiple streaming services sometimes come close to the cost of normal cable. And streaming services often have a much wider range of TV and film programming than traditional cable, particularly older shows that are often not available through cable services; more importantly, people now want to watch specific shows without having to pay for a bundle with hundreds of channels that they do not want to watch. The third important factor—scheduling—is a result of people’s changing priorities in how they watch television. People no longer want to race home to catch a TV show as it airs, but would prefer to be able to watch it whenever they want, without having to worry about schedules.

How Does Cord Cutting Impact Traditional TV?

Simply put: fewer people are choosing traditional TV, which means that traditional TV companies are seeing a decrease in their overall subscriptions. This could definitely impact these companies, particularly if their main source of investment are related to traditional TV subscription fees. Some companies have even taken to raising the prices for their subscription services, although this has backfired in the past, since price is a major deciding factor in people choosing to cut their cords.

What Can Traditional TV Companies Do?

There is no doubt that cord cutting is impacting traditional TV in the USA. However, it is not the end of traditional TV—if traditional TV companies are able to respond in the right way. Traditional TV companies should not look at streaming services as the end of an era or as the ‘enemy.’ They should instead embrace the newest evolutions in people’s TV habits and attempt to adapt with the times.

Some networks are already adapting to these changes. HBO  which was once only available with expensive cable packages, announced its own streaming service package for people who want to watch HBO shows without paying for cable.