In our world, there is very little that is able to hold our attentions in much the same way as television shows do. They allow us to escape from reality, ranging from a brief half hour up to multiple hours, into worlds and circumstances that are unlike our own. They provide us with the means to envision ourselves within the worlds the characters inhabit and get us to choose our favorite characters and feel a large span of emotions as series continue on.
To us as consumers, the most important thing when it comes to television is how we receive our favorite shows and the manner in which that occurs. As technology has become more advanced, we have received new ways of watching these shows rather than just sitting in front of a television screen at the exact time of day for an hour or so.
What began as methods to record your shows to watch later has now spawned our new avenues for watching such as: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, and many more. As many people have no doubt experienced, these modes grant us the ability to start a show without having to wait years for them to repeat.
Not restricted to just being able to watch them, these modes allow us the chance to catch up on series that started years ago and catch up when the show premieres again for the next season. Unfortunately for cable companies, these new modes make it difficult for cable to be needed at all seeing as these other companies provide the shows that might have been exclusive prior to Netflix and Hulu Plus, but are now cheaply handed to the public.
While cable does still benefit from the fact that these modes need to wait for some shows to be allowed on their sites, prompting some impatient watchers to buy cable anyway, the number of people who wait versus those who are too eager seems to depend entirely upon the show.
Cable companies are losing a fight that they cannot even imagine surpassing; the modes provide their customer base with features that cable could not even hope to match. For many, one specific function makes modes like Netflix and Hulu Plus infinitely better and superior in every manner. This one function is the ability to binge watch an entire series.
Unlike mere television, Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc., allow for its viewers to watch an entire series, start to finish if so desired, without pausing or giving incessant commercial break between every scene of importance.
Binge watching through these modes acts much like a marathon, but more selective. It is easily more selective by nature due to the fact that it cannot fathom being able to grant people as many shows as their hearts desire without pause or fault.
While Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime, among many others, succeed in making it so that only those who are extremely impatient would choose to pay for cable, a new market of mode has also begun taking the forefront. This mode has not taken the place of these other modes; however, it has made itself very prominent in pleasing its customer base.
This mode is that of the internet. The internet, being a medley of information as is, is now becoming its own medium for content that television cannot keep up with.
For one, while Netflix and Hulu Plus have to wait for shows to be allowed on their sites, the websites for the shows themselves on the internet can go up sometimes as soon as the next day after it airs. This factor also provides much more mobility with watching television shows that cable can’t match due to its restrictions.
Another function of the internet is YouTube. This part of the internet takes television shows and occasionally bends rules in order for the shows to be placed where everyone can access them for free.
For example, just recently for Super Bowl 51, if you went to YouTube and typed in ‘Super Bowl live stream,’ there were multiple people showing the game for free over the internet. Although these sites did get taken down through the course of the evening, they were still momentarily allowed to broadcast the game without removal until at least the third quarter.
So, what does this mean for cable? Is it dying? Is it dead? Not entirely, no. This isn’t news for cable companies and thus they’ve already found ways around the diminishing usage of television. They’ve realized this fact for a while now.
To combat this issue, they have been adding unnecessary overages to people who purchase other services from them to compensate. For example, home phones, much like televisions, are dying out as well due to smartphones; in retaliation, cable companies charge their customers to pay for television and home phone bundle plans in order to receive internet which is the only piece that does not have other modes for accessing separately.
So, while televisions themselves aren’t always being watched constantly, they are still in the running as cable companies try to get as much money as possible from their customers. But, how long will televisions last should internet get its own mode like that of Netflix or Hulu Plus?