in Innovation

The Future of TV

Today Deloitte published some exciting new data around TV in the United States: 9% have cut cable, another 11% are considering it

In other words, 20% of americans are on the verge of, or are already, cutting their cable so that instead of paying ridiculous cable bills they can take advantage of one of the many alternatives available from Netflix to Hulu to… Well… Not as legitimate options.

My wife and I cut our cable almost a year ago swapping out our cable box for a small desktop. There is a small handful of shows that we can’t watch anymore (mostly from local networks like HGTV), but our unlimited access to online TV shows and movies is still mind blowing to me.

With more and more households recognizing that you don’t need to spend upwards of $100/month for TV it will be interesting to see how the landscape of TV shifts to accommodate for a lack of “passive audiences”. And by that I mean, those that still watch commercials. The commercials that pay for a network’s existence and by proxy, their shows.

If the music industry is a sign of things to come, we may be up for a few years of turmoil, slashed budgets, cancelled shows, followed by what we’re now seeing in the music industry. Artists who have severed their ties with their labels to produce their own independent music and sell it or give it away for free. God bless iTunes.

One current example is Louis CK, who instead of taking a one time 5 figure payment for a one hour show, decided to go independent, book the show himself, record it himself, build the website (with some help) and promote his content himself. The result has netted him over 10 times what he would have made with just a little more elbow grease than what he would have had to commit under a network budget.

Maybe the future will hold writers / producers like Matthew Weiner of Mad Men responsible for developing their own business without the support of a network like AMC. He would then have to take care of distribution through channels like iTunes, YouTube, Hulu, and of course make sure all of the production is funded. But as long as people keep buying the show, or at least watching it, only he can decide if the show continues to run. Not the network.

Imagine if Arrested Development had never been cancelled – We could all have saved it through paid downloads, donations, etc.

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  1. Great Post Jonathan.

    I’ve been considering cutting my cable for over a year now but I wonder (our of ignorance probably), what options I have for the same in Canada.

    Hope things are well.

    Arjun