TV watchers fleeing cable/satellite, still finding ways to view

SALT LAKE CITY — TV watchers are fleeing from cable and satellite providers at unprecedented numbers, but the exodus appears to be less of a retreat into neo-Luddism than confirmation that more and more consumers are opting for the choice, convenience and pricing of streamed video entertainment.

Getting your TV signal through a wire goes back as far as the debut of broadcast television in the ’40s and initially was a strategy for getting those magical moments to consumers who were out of practical broadcast range. (And before anyone waxes nostalgic about the halcyon days of ad-free TV, Bulova paid to have its watches hawked in the first-ever paid spot during a Brooklyn Dodgers game broadcast in 1941.)

Cable exploded in the ’80s, and along with it dozens of cable-only networks offering a slew of niche programming (think CNN, C-SPAN, MTV) and, in some cases, fare that was too risqué for the broadcast waves. Residential satellite TV service also popped up as a consumer option during this decade, with EchoStar (later to become Dish Network) and DirecTV coming online.

Since then, pay TV service has been a veritable feeding frenzy for providers with ever-expanding packages, some of which include hundreds of channel options and premium upgrades that can push a monthly bill to nearly $200.

New Hampshire’s Leichtman Research Group, which specializes in analyzing broadband, media and entertainment industries, estimates that last year’s average monthly cable bill was $103, up from $99 in 2015. Providers have also padded profits by bundling other services, including internet access and telephone.

That rising monthly budget item appears to be playing a role in viewer decisions to cancel traditional pay TV services. While the migration has been in evidence for years, the first quarter of 2017 reflected a surge in that rate, with more than 760,000 subscribers severing their …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

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