Is TV Over?


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Over the past few years, there has been an uproar of the usage of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max. With popular shows emerging such as ‘Squid Game,’ ‘Cruel Summer,’ and ‘Euphoria’ from these streaming platforms, it seems as if people have been substituting cable TV for these subscription video-on-demand services. Moreover, with the insurgence of streaming services, there has been a downfall on watching time on cable TV. So the question is, are these streaming platforms replacing TV?

According to the most recent data, 78 percent of consumers in the United States were using a subscription video-on-demand service in 2021, an increase of more than 25 percent in five years. Also according to CNBC, about one-quarter of U.S. TV time is spent watching streaming services. There is no doubt that streaming services consistently increase as time goes on. For senior, Sydni Paige, it seems as if her whole life is swallowed by these streaming services.

“On a daily basis, I probably watch hours and hours of Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, etc. I genuinely do not even remember when was the last time I watched a show or anything that aired on national television, other than sports and the news. Everything I want to watch is on those apps,” said Paige.

Cable television first became available in the United States in 1948. By 1989, 53 million U.S. households received cable television subscriptions, with 60 percent of all U.S. households doing so in 1992. However, as the years progressed, TV watch time decreased immensely. For AP Government teacher, Amanda Mitchell, the importance of Cable TV does not even hold a candle to then in comparison to now.

“If you’re talking about the public channels, that is all we had. If you needed entertainment, that was it. We had three channels, sometimes four and that was it. However, compared to now, I do not watch as much as I used to. I watch Netflix more than I do anything else,” said Mitchell.

With the TV watch time going down as years go by, what could be the plausible reason as to why this is happening? It could be because people are getting busy or it could be the simple fact that people just do not care for what is on TV anymore. Other than the fact that streaming services are on the rise, senior, Mercy Nyakundi, believes that the downfall of TV was due to the lack of blockbuster content.

“The reason why I think people these days don’t watch cable TV is because there aren’t any good shows on TV anymore. If you asked me a few years ago, I could give you a couple of shows that were worth watching on TV, but now there are not. There has been a constant decrease in quality content and every good show is exclusive to websites such as Netflix,” said Nyakundi.

In this day and age, this generation is mostly on electronic devices such as smartphones, computers, or tablets. Those devices are constantly in the hands of many and with these streaming services being applications on phones, that makes the show fingertips away. With these applications being at hands reach, it makes consumers more likely to stream their favorite show wherever and whenever. For senior, Jace Stockton, the accessibility of these apps are just a fraction of how beneficial these applications are.

“With Netflix and the other websites, I like how accessible they are. For example, if I wanted to watch one of my favorite shows, I am able to do so on my phone, TV, and computer, at my own convenience. I also like how I can just watch any show I want. If I wanted to watch something from the 90’s, I am able to,” said Stockton.

According to statistics, by 2020, nearly 25 percent of homes in the country had canceled their TV subscriptions. The phenomenon is likely to continue. By 2024, 35 percent of all households are expected to have cut the cord, feeding the top of the funnel for streaming players like Netflix. The future of TV will soon lie in the hands of sites such as Netflix according to senior, Rory Rucker.

“In years to come, I expect little to nobody to be watching TV for something aside from sports or the news. It will have to be some miracle by a shooting star for cable TV to make a resurgence, because there is barely anybody watching it, me being included,” said Rucker.

Lasting for decades, TV has been something revolutionary and it has changed the trajectory of entertainment forever. However, out with the old and in with the new, based on the given data, it would be no surprise that ‘traditional’ TV will come to a closed curtain.