Were you one of the cable subscribers that "cut the cord" last year? Despite the disturbing umbilical metaphor, it's actually a growing trend in the United States as more people are canceling their subscription to cable because, as everybody knows, you can watch it all online either for a lot less moolah or, heaven forbid, for free.
Were you one of the subscribers that pulled the plug on your cable this past year? Tell us what prompted your decision in the comments below.
Whether you already dumped your cable company or are entertaining the notion of doing so later this year, you're a part of a constituency that is increasingly finding the notion of life without cable to be an attractive reality. Deliotte, an accountancy firm that follows business trends in media, released the results of their sixth State of the Media Democracy earlier this week and it doesn't forecast sunnier skies for cable companies in 2012. According to the press release:
A number of Americans have already cut, or are exploring cutting their pay TV connection entirely. Deloitte’s survey found that 9 percent of people have already cut the cord and 11 percent are considering doing so because they can watch almost all of their favorite shows online. An additional 15 percent of respondents said that they will most likely watch movies, television programs, and videos from online digital sources (via download or streamed over the Internet) in the near future.
Moreover, the number of people citing streaming delivery of a movie to their computer or television as their favorite way of watching a movie rose to 14 percent from 4 percent in 2009.
Are you paying attention, cable companies? As much as one-fifth of your cable subscribers could possibly abandon your pricey ships by the end of this year in order to swim ashore the more agreeable environs of the Internet where, presumably, they aren't going to be bilked for egregious amounts of money.
It gets worse for cable companies as the study says that 42% of Americans reported streaming a movie, as opposed to 28% in 2009. People are catching on to this Internet thing but, amazingly, there still may be hope for cable companies. The survey continues:
“Consumers have shown that they value DVR functionality, yet the majority of Americans don’t have a DVR in the home. This represents a potential opportunity for cable and satellite TV providers,” said said Phil Asmundson, vice chairman and U.S. media & telecommunications sector leader, Deloitte LLP. “In a world where consumers have other ways to access content, the DVR may be an underutilized service that could serve as a value-add for new and existing subscribers at minimal cost to cable and satellite TV companies.”
In fact, 44% of those surveyed have DVR technologies but the question is: will cable companies actually try to capitalize on the opportunity mentioned here by Asmundson? Probably not, as so far they have generally just tried to limit Internet access or pass off their financial short-comings to the consumers that keep them relevant.
Add to the mix that Americans are currently in the throes of a heated love affair with their smartphones, which is another means for people to watch videos via Internet.
The number of households owning smartphones jumped to 42 percent in 2011 from 25 percent in 2009. Furthermore, the number of consumers interested in purchasing a smartphone in the near future increased to 52 percent in 2011 from 40 percent in 2010.
Throw the surging tablet market into the media mix and - I enjoy saying this every time - cable companies look like they might be on the ropes.
So does anybody think that cable companies have a future? Have any of you cancelled your cable subscriptions this past year or, better yet, are deliberating toward the decision to "cut the cord" this year? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.