Top 5 things to know about TV on the internet

Everything is going digital these days—including television. With streaming services picking up steam, Tom Merritt explains five things you need to know about TV on the internet.

Top 5 things to know about TV on the internet Everything is going digital these days--including television. With streaming services picking up steam, Tom Merritt explains five things you need to know about TV on the internet.

Streaming video is not just YouTube anymore. In Q4 2018 there was a record high for cord-cutting—the practice of canceling traditional cable or satellite TV in favor of using internet-based services. So how do you make sense of where TV is going if it's no longer a choice between cable and satellite? Here are five things to know about TV on the internet.

SEE: Streaming Media Policy (Tech Pro Research)

  1. There is no doubt that cable TV is in decline: MoffettNathanson Research reports the number of US Pay TV subscribers dropped by 985,000 in Q4—that's down 4.1% over 2017, and the highest rate of decline in at least eight years.
  2. Cable companies are trying to stem those losses with internet-based services: Spectrum is selling an internet-only TV package called Spectrum TV Essentials to its internet customers. It has more than 60 channels and costs $15 a month.
  3. Multichannel internet TV packages are slowing, too: These are packages that—like cable—deliver multiple channels streaming live, and usually with a DVR element. MoffettNathanson estimates these packages gained 740,000 subscribers in Q4 2018, down from a rise of 900,000 in Q4 2017, for a total of 7.6 million subscribers.
  4. Individual services are rising: CBS All Access and Showtime now have 8 million streaming subscribers split evenly between the two platforms, up 60% from last year. That's two years ahead of schedule. (Note: TechRepublic is a CBS property.)
  5. Hardware makers are raking in money and not just on device sales: Roku says it expects to have more than $1 billion in revenue this year. CEO Anthony Wood says the company wants to power every TV in the world. Roku added close to 8 million accounts in 2018 and has devices in more than 27 million households. And Apple is pinning its future hopes on services, including its new TV service.

It's a changing world out there. Whether you're looking for a place to spend your ad dollars, or just somewhere to watch good shows, hopefully we've helped you make a bit more sense of things.

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Image: Roku