Are streaming services taking over?


Tyrenisha James

Streaming services are flexible. It allows you to stream anywhere. It is available to download, and stream when offline. This is ideal for college students, as cable television is expensive.

Nowadays, everyone has a subscription to at least one streaming service. Americans are now “cutting the cord.” By the end of 2020, it was reported by a website named Zippia that 5.1 million people unsubscribe from their television providers. People are switching over to streaming services like Hulu and Philo TV, where they have access to live television for an affordable cost. The cable providers we were accustomed to are slowly being unplugged. Could the rise of streaming services contribute to the downfall of cable?

Cable was a staple in American households. By the year 2000, cable hit its peak in the United States. Around 65.8 million Americans had access to traditional cable television. Channels such as the American Broadcast Company, and Music Television dominated cable. Growing up in the early 2000s, cable was magical. Channels produced fresh content and kept up with their audience. Nowadays cable is filled with reruns and lengthy commercials. While technology is a significant factor in the decline of cable, it is not the sole factor.

Streaming services are using the same tactics as cable once used with their premium channels. Netflix is one of the popular services to do so. More than 40% of Netflix’s content is considered a “Netflix Original.” The streaming services’ exclusivity attracts subscribers. Popular television shows like “Euphoria” and “Stranger Things” can only be viewed on their respective streaming services. Viewers must subscribe to watch these shows.

Exclusive content varies between streaming services. BET Plus allowed subscribers early access to their television shows before releasing them to its channel. In May of 2022, BET Plus released an entire season for its new series, “Kingdom Business.” The first episode of the television show did not air on the Black Entertainment channel until June 1, and the season one finale will not be aired until Feb. 22 of this year. Streaming services are aware that cable is no longer in demand. This is the reason why many channels are creating their streaming service.

Reboots are popular amongst streaming services as well. The television show, “That ‘70s Show” reboot, “That ‘90s Show,” can be found on Netflix. Disney Plus has multiple reboots, one of the animated series, “The Proud Family,” and one based on the “High School Musical” movie franchise. Since Paramount Plus has ownership of Nickelodeon, the “iCarly” reboot is available on their service. In addition, subscribers can binge-watch the original series. It gives subscribers the willpower to decide what plays on their television screens.

The majority of people who subscribe to streaming services are young adults. Zippia reports that 44% of U.S. adults have never had a cable, and 61% of them are between 18 and 29 years old. Cable limits who has access to its content, as it does not extend from outside of a household. Streaming services are flexible. It allows you to stream anywhere. It is available to download, and stream when offline. This is ideal for college students, as cable television is expensive. The average cost of cable a month was reported to be around 92 dollars. Streaming services costs are significantly cheaper, and subscriptions can be canceled at any time.

Cable had a good run, as it dominated the United States from the 20th to the 21st century. The change is similar to the one seen with the Video Home System and the Digital Versatile Disc. For now, streaming services are dominating television screens. The trend of technology is ongoing, so there may be a day when streaming services will be replaced.