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

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.

  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