It wasn’t that long ago that having cable or satellite TV was the only way to ensure you could watch your NBC comedy, ESPN’s highlights of great sports moments, and get through your wish list of movies on HBO. But now with a deluge of TV alternatives, cable could quickly become a thing of the past, or at least take on a drastically different model to stay relevant.
According to a recent report from Pew Research Center, 15% of Americans who once paid for cable or satellite TV services have cut the cord. Another 9% of people never had cable to begin with, meaning almost a full quarter of Americans don’t pay for 800 channels they don’t watch.
Obviously, that means 76% of Americans are still dealing with gems like Comcast and Time Warner Cable. But as customer service doesn’t show great strides of improvement and prices continue to rise, many Americans are beginning to seriously weigh TV alternatives – and are sometimes choosing to go without cable altogether.
It would be one thing if these people were making the change five or 10 years ago. That would have meant missing out on most broadcast and cable options, relegating yourself to living under an entertainment rock. But today, so many options exist to replace the cable that it’s likely you won’t even miss it.
Sure, there are some ways to reduce your existing cable bill, without getting rid of it completely. But the larger finding of the Pew study is that the shift is generational in nature. About 65% of young people ages 18 to 29 subscribe to cable TV, compared to 73% of adults ages 30 to 49 and 83% of adults 50 and older. According to Pew, about 16% of those millennials never had cable to begin with, and 19% of them got rid of the service after initially subscribing.