Yes, you heard this before. The Death of Cable TV. Yet, it hasn’t happened. But now, so many disruptions are happening in the video space, cable tv is really stepping towards the cliff. Don’t expect the cable industry to just give up.
We’ll get some new insights next week when the largest U.S. cable operator (23 million cable customers), Comcast, reports its Q3 earnings and subscriber count. Comcast cable customers dropped nearly 3% in Q2 compared to last year. In Q2 for the industry overall, a record 711,000 subscribers abandoned cable tv, and six of eight operators suffered their worst quarterly subscriber losses ever.
Just this month, a lot has happened:
- Google unveiled its Google TV platform less than 3 weeks ago. You can’t ignore Google. Hey, they just built a car that drives itself. But Thursday, in a battle that will likely become more frequent between old media and new, ABC, CBS and NBC blocked their programs from Google TV. MTV, Fox and HBO are still available, but that could change. Still, one TechCrunch post declared “I’ve seen the future and it begins on my sofa with Google TV.”
- Steve Jobs bragged this week that Apple has already sold 250,000 new Apple TVs. The first Apple TV shipped in 2007. It had its fans but didn’t take off like the iPod or iPhone. The second generation of Apple TV’s launched just last month. MG Siegler really likes the device, but admitted it’s not yet the killer device in the living room. To get there, he said, would require tv network subscription packages.
- “Watch Instantly” is booming at Netflix. A shocking statistic came out this week. 20% of Internet traffic during peak times in the U.S. is coming from Netflix.
For more on Netflix’s plans, see Sarah Lacy’s interview with CEO Reed Hastings.
- Hulu Plus will be coming to the Roku box in the fall.
For some, the Roku box may be the first step towards eliminating cable.
- Boxee announced the new Boxee Box will ship next month, both if you pre-ordered fromAmazon or want to buy one in stores.
- Flurry reported Apple’s iOS Apps are responsible for the recent downward trend in TV ratings. The actual cause may be a bit broader.
- A TechCrunch post Friday suggested the future of TV is HTML5.
With all these alternatives, a J.D. Power and Associates survey released this month said consumers are less satisfied with the monthly pay-TV bills and cable subscribers are more likely to feel ripped off than telcom or satellite TV customers.
Why Does Cable TV Exist?