Are We Witnessing the Death Spiral of Cable Television?

Via The Daily Bell

Cable television has long been the coveted propaganda arm used to program American sentiments. But because of the internet, viewer choice for news, sports, and entertainment has proliferated. Content is becoming decentralized, and that makes it harder to control the attitudes of the masses.

Since 2013, pay tv subscriptions have been declining, losing more customers than they gain. Over one million people per year are fleeing from paying for cable TV from companies like Verizon, Time Warner, and Comcast.

For three straight years, the viewership of the Emmy’s has declined. Yet while cable networks broadcast the award show, original Hulu and HBO shows were winning the awards.

You don’t need a cable subscription to watch shows on Netflix, HBO Now, or Hulu. While Netflix and Hulu run some cable shows, they also produce their own content. This doesn’t automatically mean the content won’t be akin to the typical propaganda on cable. But it does mean that control over programming is more decentralized. This includes the FCC’s slipping grip, as they have thus far failed to seriously regulate online programming.

Now consumers have a choice. Youtube offers even more choices which allow independent and much smaller content producers to disseminate their shows. Owned by Google, there is plenty to criticize when it comes to Youtube. They arbitrarily remove certain content that they don’t like. But this will just bolster alternatives like Vimeo and DailyMotion.

Amazon also offers subscription programming that goes along with their Prime program. Like Netflix, they are investing in making their own TV shows and movies to better compete with all the alternatives. An Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial lets you see what they got before committing.

And whatever issues you may have with companies like Youtube and Amazon, there are now plenty other options available, with more coming.

An exciting new startup called will soon go live. The company aims to tackle programming from a community perspective. They offer “hyperlocal broadcasting” that is boosted based on popularity but always starts locally. BadMirror.tvseeks to reconnect people to their community so that a handful of big executives–and whoever is influencing them–can’t centralize control over content, and decide what will be popular.

Pride comes before the fall.

A user base can vanish quickly when customers no longer get what they want from a business, and have plenty of alternatives.

And we should expect viewers to go elsewhere as their favorite content starts leaving a bad taste in their mouth. For years, football has enjoyed tremendous ratings, insulated from the decline of other cable programming. But viewers have recently been turned off by excessive political correctness from the NFL, as well as protest displays from pro-football players which many view as unpatriotic and disrespectful to law enforcement.

Overall viewership for the 2016 NFL season was down 8% per game, an average of 1.4 million fewer viewers per game compared to 2015. So far in the 2017 season just beginning, there has been a 14% decline in viewership.

The kicker is that football has been counted on by Cable networks to save television. Sports games are still better watched live since hearing the score for a recorded game is a major spoiler. When you watch live, it is harder to get around the commercials. But people aren’t watching football as much, not even on alternative providers. The NFL has overplayed its hand in delving into politics.

The good news is, as an individual, you don’t have to be affected by Cable TV one way or the other. You have the power to simply choose alternatives that don’t play into the machine of manipulation, fear, and drivel.

Of course, another great alternative is to read books for entertainment. Go full Farenheight 451, reject the screens which take up whole walls of the living room, and become a literary outlaw.


ThePhantom Mon, 09/18/2017 - 13:54 Permalink

the TV is the center of mass delusion and collective experience, and is bar none the best tool for use as a mind control agent and destroyer of family relationships. no one says anything, they are only spoken too, and what is spoken is always truth, so that i need not listen or look at anything anyone has to say... i already know everything of Importance! Haha

Withdrawn Sanction Shitonya Serfs Mon, 09/18/2017 - 16:35 Permalink

Cable TV is dying for lots of reasons.  Yes, cheaper alternatives as mentioned and also the programming generally stinks AND they make you pay for the privilege of wading through advertisements.  Another reason has to be the imposition of the Obamacare tax.  That hit ordinary households hard in their discretionary spending pocketbooks and something's got to give.  If there's an upside, it's people, once freed, realize how useless TV watching actually is.  I used to watch the NFL regularly on Sundays, often both the 1 and 4 o'clock games.  Haven't watched a single snap in 3 years and it's been great.  If current trends continue, these grown men who make their living chasing a ball around a field (or commenting on same), will have to find productive employment elsewhere. 

In reply to by Shitonya Serfs

PiratePiggy Withdrawn Sanction Mon, 09/18/2017 - 16:56 Permalink

>  "Another reason has to be the imposition of the Obamacare tax." Absolutely. That is what makes it even more satisfying. Lobby your representavives to reduce copyright protection on content - it may have made sense when there was a shortage of content.  Content should be protected no longer than a new drug to cure cancer should be protected.

In reply to by Withdrawn Sanction

lincolnsteffens Manthong Mon, 09/18/2017 - 15:11 Permalink

I finally dumped satellite 3 years ago. Its expensive. Ever since the O.J. Simpson story was on the news as the most important news item for nauseating months on end, TV quality has dropped to unbelievable depths. I could barely watch anything except an old movie or an occasional nature show.I've gone back to reading books which I can get for $ .50 in the book sale section of two local libraries. When I'm done with the books I offer them to others or just donate them back to the libraries.The TV is the greatest tool for mind control yet invented. Turn it off.

In reply to by Manthong

Trogdor Manthong Tue, 09/19/2017 - 21:19 Permalink

Haven't watched TV since '80. Was too poor for a TV in college - so I didn't have one - and got out of the habit.

Now, I can't stand to be in a room with the idiot box running. Jeebuz, how do people tolerate that annoying shite? It's like having a screaming 4-year old in the room that Will. Not. Shut. Up.

In reply to by Manthong

what happened ThePhantom Tue, 09/19/2017 - 08:41 Permalink

 When my son was young we had no cable and got only two stations.  We read aloud at night.  It was to my great astonishment that his second grade teacher scolded me because it put my son at a social disadvantage to not know who sponge bob squarepants was.  We don't own a TV anymore.  He is a junior in college and still does not watch and is all the better for it.  

In reply to by ThePhantom

Carpe Tutti Bastardi Klatschman Mon, 09/18/2017 - 14:49 Permalink

You've hit the nail right on the head. I don't know about everyone else butI watch about 4 or 5 stations, out of the hundreds we are forced to pay for,and they are almost exclusively commercial free movie stations.I am seriously considering getting rid of Comcast and their $132.00/monthrip-off but the altrnatives are beyond the capabilities of my wife who has an illnessthat causes her difficulty in finding programs she likes. The alternatives,unfortunately,would totally confound her.

In reply to by Klatschman

gregga777 Mon, 09/18/2017 - 14:36 Permalink

The Anglo-Zionist FAKE NEWS Media and Propaganda Production CONporations and the Cable TV CONporations are all in the business of propaganda. Even the National Felons League has become nothing more than a propaganda arm of the United States of America's Feral Gangster Government. They can all go hang for all that I care. Read a book. Learn some history. Then you'll see why the United States is on the road to ruin.

Stan Smith Mon, 09/18/2017 - 14:39 Permalink

What I find amusing is Cable/Sat's unwillingness to go the a-la-carte route.    10 years ago I understood the fight.   I can't see it anymore with the options that are out there.    At all.   Now, the real big boys dont care.   Why?   Because they are providing internet to most these folks as well.   All that is going to happen -- and has been happening -- is the price for TV is going to go down,  and the price of internet is going to go up.People wonder why change is slow?    That'd be a great question for the FCC. 

PiratePiggy 7thGenMO Tue, 09/19/2017 - 13:24 Permalink

T-Mobile offers a family plan of 4 lines unlimited text, talk, data for $160 per month.  For a primary account holder over 55 years of age, it is 2 lines unlimited for $60 per month.  T-Moble had throttled an individual phone to 3 G if you used over 25 GB per month on that phone but there was no throttling on the other phones.  Today (maybe yesterday) they announced that they increased the throttling threshold to 50 GB.   It is a great deal.   I don't work for them or own the name, but I love the service.  They had been the worst carrier in the US but no longer. Much better coverage and improving rapidly.  I stream the audio to may car stereo via Bluetooth. Goodbye forever to SiriusXM.Hotspots or tethering via USB are 3 G unless you pay an additional small fee.

In reply to by 7thGenMO

SJEqualizer UndertheDRADIS Tue, 09/19/2017 - 12:10 Permalink

Perhaps...if they allow 1 TB or more of data per month without throttling the connection.  Getting ~20 GB of 'unlimited' mobile data (current LTE is plenty fast), with everything above that throttled to 3G speeds is essentially worthless to people like me.Cable is mostly garbage, OTA TV is really fucking garbage, the only good alternative is streaming via the Internet where you can choose exactly what you want.  The ISPs fully understand this and data caps are the best weapon that they have.Cable and OTA TV are both dead.  Good.

In reply to by UndertheDRADIS

Kendle C Mon, 09/18/2017 - 14:54 Permalink

I'm saving 800 Dollars a year. How? Dumped cable, paid to have roof antenna installed, bought two Channel Master OTA DVR's with hard drives. The Saturday morning westerns, alone, I record 5 hours of programming. Can't watch it all but, for example, Gunsmoke is as good as any movie they're producing today, wonderful story telling, immersive minus the modern dosage of perversion and jaded alienation.

Bad_Sushi Bad_Sushi Wed, 09/20/2017 - 18:49 Permalink

OK, as proof of my statement and proof that the jackwads who down-voted my votes are completely ignorant of modern TV entertainment, I offer you this previously composed list as viable evidence that great contemporary TV entertainment is indeed being produced and one not need to resort to fucking Gunsmoke and Big Haas for an entertainment fix... Niggas paleeeze!  The List... In No Particular Order... All better than Gunsmoke. A LOT BETTER! ANd I will limit the productions to say, the last ten years... Penny DreadfulTabooLostBreaking BadMad MenFrom Dusk Till DawnGame Of ThronesThe Walking DeadInto The BadlandsPreacherStranger ThingsAmerican Horror StoryThe X-FilesThe SopranosBoardwalk EmpireBand of BrothersFear the Walking DeadBattlestar GallaticaTrue BloodWeedsMarried with ChildrenFireflyHell On WheelsTop GearThe Grand TourThe ShieldTerminator: The Sarah Connor ChroniclesDeadliest CatchThe VoiceMythBustersJericho (2006–2008)   

In reply to by Bad_Sushi

Txpl9421 Mon, 09/18/2017 - 15:12 Permalink

Here is a clue for everyone:  The "cable companies" would love to get out of the program delivery business.  They would be happy to move into broadband, cellular, and telephone service.  The margins are much better than what they get on basic channels and even the pay channels.Just think about it, without that crap the bills become clean.  Without that crap, you could cut the service staff in half--easy.So if you are wondering why they don't seem to be "fighting" the decline its not because they are stupid--its because they care less about that crap than you do.

Mazzy Totin Mon, 09/18/2017 - 17:27 Permalink

I would say content CHOICE is where the real growth is.  The old system of "bundling" (which is akin to centralization) is dying, if not effectively dead.  You will only have personalized selection going forward (akin to decentralization).  People have been wanting it for 20 years, but big cable failed to adapt or respond to consumer demand.

In reply to by Totin