Cord-cutting is becoming standard

Cord-Cutting Is Becoming the Norm

July 6, 2021

Could cord-cutting become the norm? According to a recent survey, just under 50% of Americans self-identified as "cordless". That should be a scary thought for traditional cable TV providers, but it may also spell trouble for cord-cutters in the form of rising prices.

Streamer's Spotlight: The Good and Bad of Cord-Cutting Ubiquity

Many people don't realize that traditional cable TV (you know, the thing we love to hate around here) started in the middle of the last century. The technology was born in 1948, then expanded widely and improved throughout the next few decades. Many of the major networks that are cable TV staples, such as ESPN, CNN, Nickelodeon, and HBO, were born in the 1970s. By the early 90s, over 60% of US households had a cable TV subscription, making cable TV the "norm". 

It's easy to assume we're in the early years of cord-cutting, but it's important to understand that technology adoption moves at a much faster pace these days. The timeframe between creation and normalization is much smaller for tech in the 21st century than in the 20th century.

Live TV services designed to replace cable TV first appeared in 2015. By the end of 2021, they may be in 

, making them the "norm". 

The Good: Better Service Quality

Here's the good that's likely to come out of cord-cutting reaching market dominance. Once cord-cutting and live TV streaming services become the most popular way to get traditional cable TV, content providers will effectively be forced to sell their services there. It's marketing 101. It's easier to go where your customers are located than to try to create forge your own space to bring customers to you.

It also means that we can expect to see more innovation within the cord-cutting market. Those services that survive will need to think creatively about how to keep their customers from switching. New features will arise that might surprise us. I wouldn't be surprised if Google decided to merge its Stadia video game service into YouTube TV somehow.

The Bad: Prices Will Rise

There's just no getting around the eventual price increases. We've already seen them, in fact, such that many people are wondering if we've already hit the ceiling. Bad news: We haven't. The average cost of expanded cable TV services in the US was over $73 in 2021, by some figures. Right now, most of the popular services charge less than that, and that's without providing regional sports. Many are still operating on thin margins.

Once they know they don't have to fight to get people to switch away from traditional cable TV, (e.g., once traditional cable TV is no longer a threat to the business model), they'll start increasing prices to increase their profit margins. Hopefully, cord-cutting services won't reach pricing parity with traditional cable, but don't rest too easy on that. It could happen.

This Week's Streaming Guide

1. Netflix Gives Life to Cat People

They come in all shapes and sizes, and Netflix is giving them a docuseries called Cat People. Available Wednesday (July 7). -

2. Shark Have Gangs and Nat Geo Wants to Show Them to You 

Watch Nat Geo's 'Shark Gangs' Wednesday (July 7) at 10 PM EST. -

3. Live-Action Resident Evil Series Launching on Netflix

Netflix continues its games-to-tv push with a live-action series of the horror thriller video game, Resident Evil. Watch Infinite Darkness this Thursday (July 8). -

4.  'Black Widow' Launches on Disney+

The next entry in the MCU filmography hits this Friday. Watch Black Widow on Disney+. -

News and Industry Developments

1. Disney+ and Verizon Are Fixing Your Slow Connection Problems

The two have teamed up to come up with a technical solution, but this will only benefit Verizon customers. -

2. 4K Downloads Come to YouTube TV, but They're Costly

The service isn't offering those 4K downloads for free. -

3. Stanley Cup Locked to Subscription Tier on Peacock

Although the price is cheap, it still means you'll need to pay to live stream the Stanley Cup Finals in the US. - 

4. Newsy Leaving Live TV Streaming Services

That's one less news option on YouTube TV and other services, but you can still watch Newsy if you liked it. -

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