By the end of this year, more than 22 million adults in the United States will have canceled a cable or satellite TV subscription. For cable companies, that is very bad news; those are monumental numbers and there may be no end in sight. Of course, if you’re reading this, you may be one of those people who have already cut the cord. By disrupting the old status quo and putting customers in control, companies are revolutionizing television as we know it – and you and I are the ones who benefit. Here are six current players that could end cable television as we know it forever.
It would be foolish to not put Netflix at the top of this list. Not only is the company investing heavily in original programming, to the point that they release their own films via their streaming service before theaters (if they release them in theaters at all), but their subscription numbers continue to grow. In fact, it’s estimated that Netflix subscribers will soon surpass cable TV customers. Clearly, Netflix is a big fish in a big pond, and we should all get used to seeing the company’s name in the near future, as it isn’t going anywhere.
Netflix may be big and popular, but it hardly has a monopoly on on-demand TV and streaming. Amazon’s Prime service counts some 90 million subscribers, with nearly 40 percent growth over the last year alone. Bolstered by original content, free two-day shipping on Amazon purchases, and free music streaming among other features, Prime offers numerous perks to customers, none of which can be duplicated by traditional cable companies. It is this type of asymmetric approach to television service that is leaving the cable companies behind – and giving companies like Amazon a leg up.
In the very near future, via a rebranded version of Apple Music, you will be able to stream and view Apple original programming. Not content to simply let customers access services like Netflix and Amazon Prime from its popular line of Apple TV boxes, the mega company wants to get in on the streaming business itself – and it’s hardly surprising. With cash to spend and the future of television clearly in streaming, Apple may soon disrupt TV services in the same way the iPhone disrupted the cell phone. If so, here’s some advice for competitors: look out!
Not only has Disney announced that it will be launching its own streaming service in 2019, but it also owns a large stake in Hulu, the streaming service that most resembles television as we know it. And if the company’s proposed buyout of 21st Century Fox goes through, it will own a majority stake in Hulu, giving it complete control over not one streaming service, but two. Needless to say, Disney is a juggernaut when it comes to content, so there should be little doubt that its branded streaming service will make a big splash when it finally lands. Could it usurp Netflix as the go-to streaming subscription?
A new player that could disrupt cable (and streaming) in a big way is T-Mobile. With its recent acquisition of Layer3, T-Mobile is primed and ready to launch its own streaming service in 2018. Why is that a big deal? Because like Apple and its iPhone, T-Mobile is a company that has built a reputation on upending the status quo and going for the jugular. In the past, the “Un-carrier” has made a point of going in the opposite direction of its competitors (pairing free Netflix subscriptions and unlimited streaming with its cell phone plans, for example), and it has paid off. The same could hold true for TV. With a reputation for stellar customer service and a customer-first approach to product development, T-Mobile’s TV service is one to look out for.
You may not realize it, but Google has a streaming service of its own: YouTube TV. Like Hulu, the service focuses heavily on providing customers access to traditional broadcast channels. Currently, subscribers can access 40 channels for $35 per month, along with regional and national sports channels. This may seem like a strange middle ground, but think of YouTube TV as bridging the gap between streaming services like Netflix (which costs about $10 per month) and traditional cable (which can cost over $100 per month). Not to be left behind or outdone, the service also offers original content in the form of YouTube Red, a paid YouTube service.
When it Comes to TV, the Choice is Yours
And that’s a wonderful thing. Some may decry the streaming marketplace as becoming oversaturated, but when it comes to consumer services, choice is something to be applauded, not denigrated. There are more options than ever before for viewing media content at home, and the beneficiary is you, the customer. If you are thinking about cutting the cord, you have no shortage of options to keep you entertained – all of which are more affordable than cable. What’s not to like about that? Pick the one that’s right for you and never look back.