The looming threat of cord-cutting has been a fact of life for years, but the other shoe hasn’t yet dropped. Some say that the phenomenon has been over-exaggerated, but others are doling out more doomsday scenarios: eMarketer recently predicted that, by 2018, one in five Americans will not subscribe to a cable TV package.
“I would call this the calm before the storm,” said cable analyst Craig Moffett, “on the brink of a whole new set of services that are more compelling than the ones we have now. You ain’t seen nothing yet in the sense that cord-cutting could be poised to accelerate in the coming year.”
Cable operators have so far found ways to stay in the game.
Some operators are starting to embrace the OTT trend, providing hybrid set-top boxes that allow customers to access Internet video services without having to purchase a separate device. The hope is that incorporating OTT into the cable ecosystem will entice the cord-cutter class to stick with cable rather than jump ship altogether.
Others are finding a competitive advantage in becoming Internet-only providers. Frustrated by the rising fees charged by television networks, they intend to focus on increasing their network speeds and building out fiber networks in their communities—a compelling value proposition for operators who want to meet the demand for more powerful broadband. Packaging broadband with skinny bundles has also seen some success, with less emphasis on the television and more on the broadband.
Also, continue to watch for future changes involving bundle packaging and pricing, as well as data caps.
Whatever the case, there’s clearly more than one solution. As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger—cord-cutting doesn’t spell extinction as much as adaptation.
These industry innovations may be enough to slow the tide, but the question is: Are they enough to turn things around? Let us know what you think.