Streaming Becomes Mainstream As Cord-Cutting Accelerates

By Robert Channick
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Traditional pay-TV providers, cable, satellite and telephone companies, lost 1.7 million subscribers in 2016, and the pace is accelerating, with more than 2.6 million cutting the cord through September of this year.

CHICAGO

Cord-cutting is not just for millennials anymore.

Fed up with high prices and bloated packages, millions of Americans cut the cord on cable TV in 2017, finding refuge with a growing number of streaming services, which deliver lower prices and a competitive channel lineup over the internet.

“This was really the year that cord-cutting went mainstream,” said Craig Moffett, a senior analyst at the research firm MoffettNathanson. “It was mostly based on the availability of compelling services.”

Internet television, also known as over the top, bypasses cable and delivers video directly to viewers through a broadband connection. Major players include subscription video-on-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu as well as livestreaming services such as Sling TV and DirecTV Now, which air dozens of cable channels in real time.

Once an idle threat customers used to squeeze a few free months of HBO out of cable providers, cord-cutting accelerated in 2017 as disruption in the pay-TV industry reached critical mass. New streaming services launched, subscriber growth skyrocketed and more media companies took the plunge to ensure their programming found viewers online.

“The genie is out of the bottle, and it’s not going to be put back in,” Moffett said. “The media companies are now dependent on the (over-the-top) providers to sustain their distribution, so they have no choice but to steam forward and make their content available.”

Traditional pay-TV providers, cable, satellite and telephone companies, lost 1.7 million subscribers in 2016, and the pace is accelerating, with more than 2.6 million cutting the cord through September of this year, according to MoffettNathanson.

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