These New Charts Show TV Is Being Strangled To Death By The Web

Traditional cable TV—once a staple in American homes—is dying off as its subscribers move to high-speed digital services that may include TV, but are primarily for people who want fast internet download speeds, according to data published today by ISI Group, an investment research group.

In a comparison of three companies (Charter, Time Warner Cable and Comcast), ISI looked at their market penetration rates for video-only services vs. high-speed data/internet services and bundles.

In 2011, their numbers show, cable TV was to be found in about 40 per cent of homes. But based on ISI’s projections, cable will decline into just one in three homes by 2017 (click to enlarge):

cable tv

Photo: ISI Group

Similarly, one in three homes has a high-speed data package right now, but ISI predicts that will increase to 40 per cent in 2017:

cable tv

Photo: ISI Group

This all dovetails neatly with my previous argument that cable TV is becoming the hard-wired phone of this decade: Something that most houses still have, but that is merely a vestigial appendage on a package where web access is the most important factor for the consumer.

The challenge for the TV industry is to ensure that consumers watch its shows in a sanctioned forum paid for through fees or advertising. But the fact that consumers are enthusiastic about web-delivered video suggests they’ll be actively finding ways around that.


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