How Netflix is Killing Cable TV

It’s quite an amazing story. In the digital age we live in today, on-demand choices have taken over the entertainment industry in more ways than we can imagine. As previously documented while reporting on Disney’s blockbuster deal to buy Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, Murdoch said this about the changing media landscape:

There’s only Must See Fox News and Must See Fox Business. Entertainment is more and more non-linear. We see that in the way people watch the broadcast networks. There is no loyalty to them, there’s loyalty to individual programs. And you get certain ratings. You put it on a certain time, the end of the week that will have doubled. The end of a month it probably redoubled again. So, it’s very hard to monetize that with advertising.

And that couldn’t be more true today. Take Netflix for example. Founded in 1997 as an online VHS/DVD-movie rental service, it made the historic move to streaming movies and TV shows in 2011.

In 2013, the company premiered House of Cards as its first original series. Thanks to its popularity, Netflix has grown to one of the largest providers of original content such as The Crown, and Stranger Things. The company has even acquired a comic book publisher called Millarworld.

And while streaming thrives, cable TV is in serious trouble.

Bloomberg reports that all three major cable channels aimed at children – Disney Channel, Viacom’s Nickelodeon, and Time Warner’s Cartoon Network – are in free-fall, seeing ratings go down 20% from last year according to Nielsen. The Bloomberg report also profiles a 7-year-old boy named Caleb being among one of those kids preferring to watch his content on Netflix.

And it’s not just kids’ programming. As reported last year, the progressive-leaning Freeform cable channel, also owned by Disney, is in decline as well despite a partnership with Netflix’s streaming rival Hulu. Among the reasons for the decline is their persistent alienation of conservative viewers. The latest example is teaming up with sister operation ABC News to glorify the March for Our Lives.

The trailer below for the documentary they co-produced, which premiered on April 30, disgracefully compares the anti-gun demonstrations to the civil rights movement of all things. That alone is dishonoring and insulting the memory of those who took big steps to make racial equality a reality.

Keep in mind, this is on a channel aimed at teenagers, and is being co-produced by what’s supposedly a hard news organization. It’s definitely sad that this is going on. Yet at the same time, it’s not surprising. To play devil’s advocate, CEO Bob Iger can’t control everything that goes on at a company as big as Disney, but he should know about what’s going on at his television operations, and why they’re losing to streaming options.

Netflix still has its share of liberal drivel for sure, but conservatives should still value the convenience of the  service being more a la carte compared to cable television, which forces you to pay hundreds of dollars for channels you probably won’t be watching anyway. And that’s why they became the dominant force they are today.



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