Is Cable TV on its Way Out?
     According to Drew Bowling of WebProNews, there is a growing trend in the United States of people cancelling their cable subscription because they can watch their favorite shows online for free or for very cheap.  Based on a survey conducted by Deliotte, an accounting firm that follows media business trends, 9 percent of people have canceled their cable subscriptions, 11 percent are considering it and 15 percent will likely watch movies and TV programs from a streaming service like Netflix.

     There may be more competition for cable TV in the form of original online content.  According to Jake Coyle of the Huffington Post, YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu will soon begin to debut their original programming.  These programs will focus on short-form, on-demand entertainment. Netflix will even release entire seasons of shows all at once, so that viewers will be able to watch as much of one show as they want at their convenience.  Original online content has already proven to be a huge draw, with Yahoo attracting 26 million unique visitors in November alone. 

     This trend of people canceling their cable subscriptions is being felt in the Hampton Roads area.  Daycia Leppert of Virginia Beach, Virginia says, “Cable is way too expensive, I am not paying $100 a month for something I probably won’t watch that often.” In order for her to even consider going back to cable the local companies “could lower their prices.”  She watches her favorite TV shows online using web sites like Hulu, stating that, “Hulu is awesome! I can watch all my fave shows on there whenever I want.”  When asked about online-only original content, she said, “That sounds cool, hopefully the programming will be something interesting.”

     Not all Hampton Roads residents are canceling their cable.  William Rose of Newport News, Virginia is one resident who has two cable boxes in his home.  He says, “I enjoy HD and watching television and not having those in my home was not an option.” He goes on to say that “Cable is worth it, in my opinion because it provides phone, Internet and television services which in today’s technological arena are must have services.” When asked about watching his favorite TV shows online, William states, “I haven’t considered just watching shows online or Netflix. Netflix and online television are very secondary in my viewing preferences and watching movies on a computer doesn’t excite me at all.”  In his opinion, “Online programming just does not interest me. I love big screens and the best quality picture possible and the Internet does not provide those.”

     Ronda Carrington of Virginia Beach echoes William’s sentiment.  She says, “I’ve always subscribed to cable, which in the beginning was for better reception and more channels and now it’s more for the DVR option to be able to watch what I want when I want.”  When it come to watching TV online, she states, “Watching shows online is okay if I miss something, but I’d rather sit in my recliner or lie in bed and watch television. A 50 inch or more computer or laptop would be a bit much, I prefer to relax and watch shows on a big screen.”  Ronda has no plans to cancel her service in the near future, saying that, “For now I don’t think I’m ready to cancel my cable. The price is a bit much, but worth it for now.”

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