As cable TV loses subscribers, streaming services become more popular, potentially reshaping how viewers watch TV.
- Experts agree that legacy television will continue to decline over the next several years, though some say it will stick around for a while longer—mainly due to syndicated television shows.
- “Cable TV will continue to be in decline. It will be crappier. Budgets will get cut. More scripted programming will migrate away to streaming. There will be more repeats. But it will continue to exist,” North Road Company CEO Peter Chernin says.
- Former Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff explained that the most loyal sports fans may subscribe to multiple streaming services to watch their teams play, but not all will.
- While there is general agreement that legacy television will continue to drop subscribers, many think linear television will continue for years.
- Streaming services will stay the same in the coming years, with Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV mentioned as the services that will remain.
- Another prediction from experts suggests that viewers may be able to subscribe to a streaming bundle, similar to a cable bundle, that gives the user access to several streaming services for one price.
- “I do think there will probably be a more efficient way of buying more streaming services, but I don’t think it will be analogous to the cable bundle. One central warehouse who deals with all players and sends one bill — that I don’t think is going to happen … there may be a much easier way to access a group of streamers than dealing with them individually,” internet provider IAC chairman Barry Diller says.
- When asked which streaming service would most likely become dominant in the next several years, many responded that Apple or Amazon would take the lead, CNBC reports.
Why it’s news
Streaming services are changing how viewers consume media, reshaping an entire industry. While some streaming services may not survive the stiff competition, it appears clear that streaming is the way forward in the entertainment industry.
However, exactly how this transition to streaming will look is still debatable. Experts can provide their best guesses as to which providers will rise to the top and what new services they will offer, but only the next few years can truly reveal what television will become.
Backing up a bit
Last year, Americans officially spent more time watching streaming services than consuming cable content. Around one-third of television consumption in the U.S. came from streaming, with Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ leading the way.
The overall amount of television media consumption has remained steady, but streaming has slowly grown more popular than cable television, indicating that it will soon claim the number-one spot.