Is Cord-Cutting Becoming the Best Option for Home Entertainment?
PCs, laptops, smart TVs and smartphones are to be found everywhere these days, putting traditional media channels in an interesting situation. Many people choose to use their connected devices not only to read the news, play Canada casinos, keep in touch with their friends and families through social media, make payments, and shop, but they use them to consume media in relatively new and disruptive forms that are far more flexible and accessible than the traditional ways promoted by TV channels and broadcast companies.
Cord-cutting, as this phenomenon is usually referred to, is becoming widespread in many areas. A study conducted by market research firm J.D. Power. this summer, cited by CBC News, has asked over 9,300 Canadian TV customers about their intentions or plans to cut the cords in the near future. Over a quarter of the respondents said that they are considering to move away from traditional broadcast television and toward the new, digital forms of entertainment, with 8% having the intention to actually do so within the next 12 months from the survey (the results were published in June).
Why is cord-cutting such a convenient alternative for many? Well, first of all, there's the question of convenience. In today's busy world, people can't afford to schedule their day around a TV episode that shows at a certain hour. Instead, it's far more convenient to simply stream it whenever they feel like it and watch it on their computer, smartphone or smart TV when they have the time. It is the ultimate "on-demand" entertainment, with the content available at the time the viewer actually feels like consuming it. The convenience of scheduling is improved by mobility - the ability to watch an episode of one's favorite TV series wherever they are. Streaming services have, for a long time, been available on smartphones. Think of catching up on your favorite TV show during an hour-long commute to work.
Another important difference between traditional broadcast TV and on-demand online streaming of content is advertising. Netflix, the leading provider of such services, offers its customers a completely ad-free experience on any screen they choose to watch its content, as opposed to traditional TV channels, where the episodes and movies are frequently interrupted by promotional messages, often annoying the hell out of viewers. Ads are especially frustrating for cable subscribers who actually pay for having a roster of channels rather than tuning in to them through the airwaves. Then, there's the question of price - a streaming subscription can cost several times less than a cable subscription (and it doesn't come with bundled services either) and, even though it doesn't provide the same variety of content (which is especially hurtful for sports fans) it is a viable alternative for many to traditional broadcast television.
The number of traditional TV subscribers in Canada drops by a significant number each year - and this decline seems to be accelerating. While cord-cutting doesn't really threaten TV right now, it might become a far more widespread phenomenon in the future.