Netflix vs Cable: Is it time to cut the cord?

With Netflix overtaking traditional television, it’s only a matter of time before people completley get rid of their cable subscription.

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When is the last time you were able to binge watch the entire season of the nation’s hottest new show on live television without having to pay a surcharge or sit through a ton of commercials?

Live television programs are struggling to keep up with Netflix’s low membership fee, commercial free programs, and the ability to provide a “binge-watching” experience.

These minor perks make an enormous difference when it comes to the customers. According to FBR & Co. analyst Barton Crockett, “57 percent of the nearly 800 Netflix users queried said that, if forced to choose, they would keep Netflix over traditional pay TV.” The opportunity to watch programs on any internet connected device, whenever desired, is much more convenient for the customer rather than TV channels that provide new content the traditional way.

In order to resolve the issue live television channels are enduring, the networks can work on lowering their prices for subscriptions, reducing the amount of advertisements, and by promoting an online streaming option for their network’s programs.

Price Comparrison

Currently, most cable companies offer what seems like an infinite amount of unique channels. Although this abundance of channels may entice many subscribers, according to Nielsen, an organization that studies trends and habits worldwide, on average Americans pay for 189 channels and only watch 17. Unfortunately, the viewers still have to pay for every single one. According to the report of Federal Communications Commission, the average cost of cable TV every month is around $64.41.

A chart by Nielsen displaying the average amount of channels recieved by most househouseholds compared to the average amount actually watched. https://arstechnica.com/business/2014/05/on-average-americans-get-189-cable-tv-channels-and-only-watch-17/

On the other hand, Netflix costs around $10 a month and is not based on a channel system. There is no doubt that owning a Netflix account is the more efficient way to spend money, and consumers are slowly realizing this and dropping their cable memberships.

In order to resolve this problem, cable companies must come up with an alternative and more reasonable payment option. For instance, companies can offer an option that allows customers to choose how many and which exact channels they would like to own. Each channel could have its own price system, this way consumers are able to get more for their money. If consumers had the option to pay by the channel, they would definitely be more inclined to keep their cable subscriptions.

Commercial Breaks

Overanxious viewers are sitting on the edge of the couch, eyes wide, jaws dropped waiting for the next movement on the television screen in front of them and rather than watching the moment they have all been waiting for, they see Jake from State Farm and the essence is ruined.

Commercials are the number one interruption endured while watching live television. Any program, whether it is an action movie, a suspenseful thriller, or even a sitcom is more enjoyable when watched in one piece.

AdSavvy, a company that specializes in creating interesting ads, refers to commercials as “taking a break every 2–3 minutes while reading a murder mystery novel to read classifieds in the newspaper”.

When given the opportunity to watch ad-free TV shows and movies, there is no doubt consumers would choose to watch the commercial free programs provided on Netflix. According to the entertainment media company Mashable, by choosing to watch commercial free programs users have saved 130 hours they would have spent viewing commercials.

Although live television makes a large amount of revenue on advertisements, in order to keep the viewer count up networks can lessen the amount of ads shown in the middle of programs. For example, networks can place more advertisements after an episode ends so that there are less interruptions and viewers can enjoy the program without having to sit through a saddening ASPCA commercial in between action scenes.

Binge Watching

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The new fad of binge watching television series has transformed the entire structure of watching a television series. According to The Rubin Report, watching a series in the binge style creates many positive outcomes.

First of all, viewers are able to create their own television schedule when watching on Netflix. According to Variety, a Deloitte survey states that 68% of consumers participate in binge watching television programs. Rather than be confined to watching only one episode per week, viewers are able to spend as much or as little time binging episode; this allows the viewer to feel in control.

Binge watching also takes away the slowness of a television series. With this style of watching, viewers are able to get to know the characters more in depth by repeatedly watching, similar to when reading a novel.It is much easier to understand the main characters when the reader reads multiple chapters together rather then only reading a few pages at a time with breaks in between.

This unique method to watching television would be hard for live television to mimic, but in order to provide something similar, networks can work on building online streaming websites associated with their television channels.

Many channels such as NBC and Lifetime already have well functioning websites that offer streaming ability, but many people are not aware that they exist. Networks should promote these streaming apps and websites in order to provide a similar binge experience to compete with Netflix.

Long Story Short

The world of television is changing. The perks offered by Netflix are helping the once small company to slowly take over the entire television industry. The online streaming website’s ability to offer a low membership fee for what seems like an endless amount of TV shows and movies, commercial free, is an amazing offer cable companies must work hard to compete with.

In order to compare to Netflix, cable networks can create a more affordable payment plan that allows the customer to have more control, lessen the amount of commercials in the middle of live programs, and work on websites that allow customers easy access to binge watch their favorite television shows. Until live television networks figure out a solution to over power Netflix, the concept of television will continue to revolutionize.

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