We all know that people who want to watch shows from networks they aren’t subscribed with will find a way. But the sheer number of people who choose to do so is causing a certain shakeup in the cable community as a whole.
True, there are still plenty of people who subscribe to cable. But with services like Netflix rising to prominence (and now providing their own produced shows that are highly regarded and acclaimed), cable networks have no choice but to start taking notice.
HBO has been the first to really respond to the issue. They are planning to release a web streaming service that will be (at first) available to US customers, as early as next year. As a standalone service, there will be no need to subscribe to a cable package in order to gain access, unlike services like XFinity which don’t even offer customers access to their online entertainment if they are not subscribed to their cable service, as well.
This move is sure to shake up the industry further, and cause penalties from companies like Comcast/XFinity that are currently attempting to take over the country’s entertainment industry entirely. But with HBO and Time Warner being pressed by investors to begin showing greater and long term earning potential for the premium channel, being an innovator during a time when change is being demanded by consumers could make it well worth it.
The truth is, cable services are already obsolete. Streaming through the web, especially thanks to consoles which make set top boxes for digital access through the television pointless, is turning people away from cable in droves. Add in the general hatred for companies I don’t even have to name, and you can see why HBO is taking this step.
It is also probably the first in many announcements from other companies to come, and then perhaps a collaboration that offers something similar to cable packages, but cheaper and handled entirely online. ESPN has already stated that in the next few years they plan on offering a digital package for streaming games online to customers. Though by the time they have launched, other services will already been in place and they will have to change their plans to fit the new standard.