In 2013, Forrester Research published two studies showing how the world left the “information age” and officially entered the “age of the customer”. Consumers have more power than ever to control the market.
The most common source of information and entertainment at the end of the 20th century was satellite and digital cable television. However, smartphones, social media and streaming services have completely changed the way people consume media. With cable not being as necessary, many are choosing to “cut the cord” and switch to streaming services for their content consumption. Subscription numbers also support this trend.
CNS performed a linear regression analysis of the total number of households paying for cable television in the United States. This equation uses already known data points to predict unknown variables. In this case, it is used to predict future cable subscriber trends.
In 2013, more than 100 million households paid for cable. We can predict that by 2026 there will be less than 60 million.
One of cable’s remaining draws is the broadcast of live events, including local news and sports events, although this may not be enough to appeal to young adult consumers. According to a recent study by Horowitz Research, more than 50% of people aged 18 to 34 say they receive their news mainly via the Internet. According to a February 2022 Pew Research survey, only 21% of adults use cable as a daily news source, while 36% say they never use cable news.
Meanwhile, sports leagues are beginning to move prime-time games to streaming services; the NFL has announced that Thursday Night Football games will take place on Amazon Prime Video, and the MLB has shown baseball games on Apple TV.
One of the reasons people may make the switch is the cost; streaming services tend to be cheaper than major cable companies.
Streaming also gives viewers more targeted options and does so at a lower cost, by eliminating unwanted channels and programming. Unlike cable, the number of global subscribers to streaming services is only growing.
Netflix is currently in the lead with over 200 million subscribers worldwide. Relative newcomers Disney Plus and HBO Max are steadily gaining new subscribers. Last year, Disney Plus gained 44.8 million subscribers, the most of any streaming service.
Many cable network companies have started switching to their own streaming platforms, including Paramount Plus, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS, and Peacock, NBC’s streaming platform.
This article was originally published on CNSMaryland.org.