Over the last several years, we’ve seen many articles come out, in newspapers and online, describing the impending death of television. Not of the actual content, which is being created at an ever-increasing pace, but of the traditional means we acquire and view it. More people watch TV on their computers than ever before, and services such as Netflix and Hulu only serve to hasten the movement.
As a result, cable companies have been in panic mode, finally opening up and offering new capabilities, such as the ability to stream your cable subscription anywhere you have an iPad and Internet access. Still, there is a large degree of uncertainty as to whether it’ll be enough, as median age for cable subscribers trends increasingly upwards.
According to the Wall Street Journal, however, that’s not the new trend that should worry many large communications and broadcast companies – it’s that people are increasingly cutting the cord on their Internet subscription. According to the Leichtman Research Group, around 1% of U.S. homes stopped subscribing to home Internet access in the last year, compared to only 0.4% that stopped paying for cable or satellite subscriptions.
The reason is two-fold. There has been a substantial increase in the number of free wireless access points out there; for many, that’s enough to get online and check their email while out and about. The rest of the time, they rely on their smartphone for keeping up with email, Facebook, and blogs or sports scores. They often learn to do without, or to deal with less access for their PCs while at home.
For many very light users, this can be enough, but it’s unlikely that until we see wireless data providers drastically increase bandwidth caps, the ISP cord-cutting will truly take off.