Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 12th 2015 Contents As media companies
increasingly make their
wares available online, a
growing number of sub-
scribers are turning in
their cable TV boxes and
taking control of their TV
and movie viewing routine.
More people than ever are cutting their
cable service ties, and opting to either cut the
cord entirely, or to pare down their cable pack-
age. In the past four years along, according to
Nielsen s data, the top 40 US cable channels
have lost an average of 3.2 million subscribers.
These "cord-cutters" are willing to lower
or eliminate their monthly cable bill and get
their TV and movie fix by watching shows on
a channel s Web site, downloading them from
Apple iTunes, or Amazon Instant Video, or
even waiting for them to show up on streaming
services like Netflix and Hulu.
What we are witnessing is the future of tel-
evision. In this emerging new order, the viewer
is being endowed with greater control over
what is watched and when it s watched.
The future is platforms, not
We are already seeing the rise of "on-
demand" online streaming platforms at the
expense of traditional television channels.
Streaming services are the channels of the
future. These services, offered by companies
such as Netflix, PlutoTV, Amazon, Vudu, Hulu
and YouTube, provide access to favorite shows
and the opportunity to ad-free, binge viewing
on the subscribers terms, not on a cable chan-
nel s schedule.
Lowering Internet service prices and increas-
ing broadband speeds are together making
makes cord cutting a more realistic option for
replacing cable and switching to streaming
video. The trend is also being sweetened by
a growing catalog of on-demand shows and
evening original content being offered by
providers like Netflix and Amazon.
It also helps that most streaming services
can be accessed by essentially any device with
an internet connection. This give viewers new
options for consuming their favorite content,
ranging from large-screen smart TVs to Blu-
ray players, gaming consoles, tablets, smart-
phones and set top devices like Roku Streaming
Stick, Apple TV, and Amazon FireTV.
Internet: the new cable
Any cord cutter looking to switch to stream-
ing services will need to invest in a decent
Internet connection. After all, having Netflix
and no broadband is sort of like buying a
bicycle without wheels.
This is good news for cable service providers
who also happen to be Internet service
providers. In fact, industry and social trends
all point to the reality that the survival of cable
companies doesn t lie in television, but in the
"The cord cutting trend is a big problem
for the movie industry, because Hollywood is
still spending more than 70 per cent of their
budgets on linear TV, but the young movie
audience who is responsible for the biggest
chunk of the box office is spending a lot more
time online---for example, on YouTube and
Facebook---and this trend is accelerating rap-
idly," says Croyé, CEO of JustWatch, a stream-
ing search engine designed just for cord cut-
"So the movie industry will have to follow
the eyeballs mobile and online and try to find
their target audience for new movie releases
in a fragmented online and mobile world," he
added in a recent TechCrunch interview.
To address this fragmented future, service
providers are already beginning to offer bundles
that allow consumers who pay for high-speed
internet to access subscriptions to on-demand
TV and movie content from a diverse number
of online services, across a range of devices,
without having cable at all.
Promise with pitfalls
But, for all its benefits, cord cutting does
have its drawbacks.
Even if you don t or can t watch all that
you re paying for with your cable subscription,
it is still hard to beat the convenience and
quantity of content cable TV offers. Most
online services still can t match the simplicity
of turning on the TV, punching in a number
and instantly watching a show.
Because of content licensing restrictions,
cord cutters outside of main markets like the
US and Europe may have to go through hoops
to access their favorite content online. Cord
cutters also miss out on breaking TV news
and the interaction of some live events and
Still, it s only a matter of time before online
services match their cable channel counterparts
in term of ease of access, licensing flexibility
and immediacy of content. Cable companies
are already advances by making more shows
available in more ways to increase options for
Cut when ready
Ditching cable service is not for everyone.
As tempting as the benefits may be, cord cut-
ting is not something you want to rush into.
A little research and preparation can go a long
way to making the right choice at the right
time. As with most things, there s a right way
to go about cord-cutting, and then there s the
way that sends you back to your cable company
begging for reconnection.
The options for cord cutters are only going
to get better with time. You ll have to do your
homework to figure out when is the right time
for you to join the future of television.
Bevil Wooding is the chief knowledge
office at Congress WBN (C-WBN) an inter-
national non-profit organisation and exec-
utive director at BrightPath Foundation,
responsible for C-WBN's technology edu-
cation and outreach initiatives. Follow on
FEBRUARY 2015 • WEEK TWO www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMEMTARY | BG17
CUTTING THE CORD
Broadband, new streaming services giving consumers new options for cable TV
Links Archive February 11th 2015 February 13th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page