Recently, I took a survey about how many people actually watch cable TV. The results were shocking; most people watch YouTube or Netflix on their tablets, laptops, and cellphones and don’t even bother watching cable. I, personally, haven’t had a cable box in 5 years and haven’t felt out of the loop at all. How is that possible? Well, it’s because of this magical place called the Internet.
Cable TV has become more of an outdated way to showcase television programs and movies now than ever before. Cable TV is riddled with 2 minute commercials, specific showing times, and reruns of crap we don’t want to see that you have to pay a monthly bill for on top of your internet bill. If you turn your TV on right now, I’m positive you won’t find anything you haven’t already seen, or want to see. When watching cable, you’re trapped by the bars of scheduled television. Why wait till 6pm to watch a randomly selected episode of “Adventure Time” when you can go online and watch your favorite episodes for free whenever you want? Not only that, you won’t be riddled with 2 minute ads every 10 minutes while watching it.
Cable TV is depriving people of originality. We’ve gotten nothing but garbage sitcoms and reality shows for the past 20 or so years. They’ve decided to leave the “good stuff” to movie directors since they can easily make a profit on a bunch of rednecks making duck calls. Reality TV and sitcoms are cheap, easy to make, and can last for as long as they want them to. Cartoons have also been falling into this “cheap and easy” scheme, with shows like “Johnny Test” or “Teen Titans GO” that have no set plot and use cheap animation techniques so the show can go on forever. I challenge you to watch an episode of “Johnny Test” and count how many times they use the whipping sound effect; it’s disgusting and infuriating. You might be thinking, “What about shows like ‘Breaking Bad‘ or ‘The Walking Dead‘? Those are amazing shows on Cable TV.” Well, yeah, they are great shows, but they didn’t gain their popularity from running on the AMC network. Both of those shows gained their popularity on Netflix. They created a hiatus between each season, and uploaded all the episodes to the previous season so people could binge watch them and catch up with the other fans.
Netflix has actually started writing their own original shows like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black“. I’ve recently finished watching both of them and they are absolutely fantastic. I recommend them to anyone and everyone (but they have very mature content, so you’ve been warned). These shows use directing techniques found only in the best of movies; “House of Cards” uses “Shakespearean Asides” where Frank Underwood talks to us, the viewers, directly and convinces us to root for him. He manipulates the viewer and every person in the show and it’s fantastic. “Orange is the New Black” gives a whole new meaning to character development. Every prisoner has a great backstory, each different from the last, and they all have such different personalities that it’s hard not to love them. Not to mention they re-humanize them. When you think of a criminal, it’s someone who murdered someone or robbed a bank and deserved everything that they’re being punished with. This might be true, but they are still human. They have feelings, personality, families, and the smiles on their faces that create this huge light in the dark tunnel that’s prison. It’s phenomenal how well they’ve written this show.
Netflix actually uploads every episode of a season at once instead of cable TV’s approach of releasing them one week at a time. It allows people to “binge watch” the shows, frequent back to the episodes they couldn’t get enough of, and show their friends by starting off with any episode they feel would drag them in. I’ve already found myself recommending shows like “Arrested Development” to my friends who can’t get enough of sitcoms, but are tired of keeping up with the Kardasians.
Cable TV should be taking a forward approach and streaming their entire station online. It only makes sense; stream the new episode of “The Walking Dead” online so everyone in any time zone can watch it. Not only are you creating more of a convenience to the viewer, you’re broadening your horizons by letting anyone in the world tune in at the same time. After the episode is done streaming, upload it to your site for people to watch if they couldn’t catch the stream. No more of this, “Wait till next week to catch the episode again.” It’s stupid and you start losing dedicated viewers to your show.
Most stations are taking an even bigger step and uploading their episodes to Hulu.com the day after they’re released. I watch all the newest episodes on Hulu, and I’m not even that annoyed with the ads. Granted, I’d rather them have 2 minutes of ads before the episode plays so I can watch it uninterrupted, but we can’t get everything we want. Fox, NBC, and ABC are 3 major stations that have been posting their newest episodes the day after they’re shown on television. My TV schedule may be a day off from everyone else’s, but I can watch it whenever I want, wherever I want and not be bogged down to a couch a TV set. They even started creating their own original shows like “the Awesomes” and “Under the Mask“. They look cheesy in comparison to the Netflix originals, but they’re originals nonetheless.
So what does this all mean for cable companies? Nothing, yet. Cable is still striving and almost every household has a cable box. But in the next 2 generations of people, cable will be laughable. Our kids’ kids will be laughing at the thought of waiting till 8pm to watch a show on TV. What do you guys think? Will Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon TV leave cable television in the dust, or is this just a trend that’ll die out soon? Tell us down in the comments!