The weak economy is hitting Americans where they spend a lot of their free time: at the TV set.
They’re canceling or forgoing cable and satellite TV subscriptions in record numbers, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of the companies’ quarterly earnings reports.
The U.S. subscription-TV industry first showed a small net loss of subscribers a year ago. This year, that trickle has turned into a stream. The chief cause appears to be persistently high unemployment and a housing market that has many people living with their parents, reducing the need for a separate cable bill.
We gave up cable and satellite years ago. Considering the quality of almost everything that is on television, there seemed little point in paying for it. I wouldn’t pay for the privilege of crawling around in a dumpster, why should I pay for the garbage that’s on TV?
There is another explanation though, the Internet.
But it’s also possible that people are canceling cable, or never signing up in the first place, because they’re watching cheap Internet video. Such a threat has been hanging over the industry. If that’s the case, viewers can expect more restrictions on online video, as TV companies and Hollywood studios try to make sure that they get paid for what they produce.
I hope not, though I suspect that the entertainment industry will have its way in the end.