Recently, one of the biggest events in cord cutting took place as Spectrum and Disney started a massive fight over the future of cable TV. With this fight, Spectrum has announced that the cable TV model is broken and no longer works.
This fight comes at a pivotal moment for cable TV. Recently, we have seen subscriber numbers continue to drop. According to a new report from Inscape, the total cable TV and satellite viewership on VIZIO TVs has dropped to just 37.1%. This is down from 46.9% during the same period in 2021. Streaming now accounts for 53.8% of all TV time. Video games now account for 5.4% of TV time, and OTA TV is 3.7% of all TV viewing.
How quickly is cable TV dying?
In just the first half of 2023, cable TV companies like Comcast and Spectrum have lost over 2,748,000 TV subscribers. Not only that, but the hope that most cord cutters would switch to live TV streaming services doesn’t seem to be playing out, as live TV services like Hulu + Live TV and Fubo also lost 509,000 subscribers during the same time period.
Now though, the two largest cable TV companies seem to have very different ideas on how they will fight the death of cable TV.
How is Comcast fighting the death of cable TV?
Recently, Comcast has launched several streaming services to fight back against cord cutting by embracing it. A few years ago, Comcast launched Peacock to offer on-demand access to movies and TV shows. To help meet the demand for smaller, cheaper live TV services, Comcast recently launched NOW TV. With NOW TV you can get 40+ live channels and a free subscription to Peacock for just $20 a month.
Now, TV targets non-sports fans who are just looking for entertainment at a cheaper price. Peacock targets cord cutters who want even more on-demand content from NBCUniversal.
How is Spectrum fighting the death of cable TV?
Spectrum has taken a very different path to fight the death of cable TV. Recently, Spectrum put its foot down to say the cable TV model is broken and needs to change. To do this, Spectrum is demanding that Disney give it more freedom in its packages and that Disney bundles its streaming services for free into its cable bundles.
Spectrum is also asking Disney to let it bundle streaming services with fewer live channels. Spectrum says if Disney doesn’t agree it is willing to walk away from cable TV altogether. At that point, Spectrum says they would be open to selling bundles of streaming services to its internet customers.
How are other cable TV companies pushing back against cord cutting?
For cable TV companies, the time has come to face the music, and the time of easy money is over. Spectrum is taking this moment to push Disney to bundle streaming services with live TV channels. Other cable TV like Fios, WOW!, and more have decided live TV is not worth it and have started to shut down their TV services to sell YouTube TV instead.
For many small and even midsized cable TV companies, cable TV is just no longer profitable and not worth the time. Instead, they are moving on to focus on things like internet service.
Right now, we have three different ways cable TV companies are fighting cord cutting and the death of cable TV. The question now is who has the right plan to fight cord cutting and who will fail.