The concept of ‘cutting the cord’ is cancelling and removing any paid cable TV services, such as Virgin, Sky, BT, etc. In 2008, 0.9 million US families relied solely on the internet for their tv viewing, but in 2017, 22.2 million families now relied on the internet, a 33.2% increase from previous year (Fry 2017, p.11). Some viewers see online paid subscription services, such as Netflix, Crunchyroll, Amazon Prime, Hayu and Hulu, as a more worthwhile payment than cable services for several reasons.
Device viewing has increased drastically in the last few years, people are now watching television shows on-the-go, or simply in their own homes while either in a room that doesn’t have a traditional TV set or while multitasking. There has been an uptake in apps on mobiles and tablets encouraging on-the-go viewing, such as Netflix’s download feature. Even the popular free video uploading service Youtube is introducing a Premium service where users can view without adverts and download videos for offline viewing.
Multiscreening has also become a large part of today’s society, with people watching tv whilst on their phones, computers or tablets. Because this habit is so popular with viewers today, companies are trying to make the most of the free publicity that could come from watchers, by encouraging online campaigns and hashtags to spread the word and increase online discussion, making it more likely for friends and family of existing viewers to also watch and discuss shows.
Technology is also catering to the idea of not just watching tv through cable services, with modern Smart TVs also encouraging more online viewing and streaming by providing direct access to services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Young people today are not the targeted demographic for cable companies such as Sky and Virgin media, so companies such as Youtube are catering to this young audience, providing such a wide variety of free content, alongside paid services such as Youtube Red where users can access exclusive content from large creators on the platform. Services such as this bring in higher production costs for other producers, and encourage longer content from creators. Companies like Netflix releasing their own original content, and Keeping Up With The Kardashians moving to online service Hayu, has also created competition with other services and provides incentives for users to pay for their services and not just rely on cable tv.
Binge watching has also become a big part of today’s pop culture, with streaming sites commissioning shows with the purpose of binge watching in mind. Shows such as Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things are created with high budgets at the same quality as films today, so can easily be sat and watching in one or two sittings.
Horror shows are statistically the quickest watched shows, with Netflix’s recently released title The Haunting of Hill House being released in the lead up to halloween and quickly becoming a widely popular show. I binge watched the show myself with three of my house mates in two sittings. I feel that horror shows are one of the most enjoyable shows to watch with other people as a social occasion because the reactions of others are entertaining alongside the show, and often add to the experience.
FRY, E., 2017. Super Bowl Ads Can’t Save TV. Fortune, 1 February, p.11
Figure 1 – Haunting of Hill House – https://themighty.com/2018/10/the-haunting-of-hill-house-suicide-bent-neck-lady/