The widespread access to digital content on services such as Netflix and HBO GO has made cord cutting an option for more and more households, following the release of recent research by eMarketer, predicting that the trend will accelerate in the next few years.
Far from being slow growing, the research suggests that cord cutting, as it has become known, has expanded at a faster pace than ever before. If it continues at its current rate of growth it is predicted that by 2019, 23% of US households will not subscribe to any type of cable service.
As well as the cord cutters who are choosing to ditch their cable subscriptions, there is also a growing base of cord-nevers; those people who have never signed up for a cable package. Most of these cord-nevers are in the 18 to 31-year-old age bracket. They are used to being able to get high-quality viewing packages on services such as Netflix, for as little as $10 per month. When you consider that an average cable bill in the US can be around $100 a month, the cost savings are obvious. The fact is that viewers are growing weary of getting an inferior quality of content at a higher cost. That is why an increasing number of them are turning to providers like Netflix and Hulu.
What does the future of cord cutting hold?
It’s true that people are cord cutting in ever increasing numbers, but this does not mean that cable is going away. Even if you accept the predicted 1.4% decline by 2019 as correct, the vast majority of households will still have a cable subscription at that point. The problem for the cable providers is that although the death of cable is not imminent, its continued decline is definitely happening. This will lead to loss of revenue for cable providers which is a big concern. They will certainly need to look at ways to try and stem the decline. The three most obvious ways to do this are, improve the quality of the viewing experience, widen the amount of content available and introduce more cost effective packages.
The advance of technology has raised the expectations of viewers. They are no longer willing to settle for lack lustre content at a really high cost. This is especially the case when providers like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video are providing a wide selection of content for a fraction of the cost. If cable providers do start to amend their product in an attempt to compete then it can only be a good thing for viewers.