REPORT: Here’s Why People Say They Still Pay For Cable Television

streaming sports online

As confident we are that the future of television is going to be in streaming, there’s no doubt that plenty of people still pay for traditional cable television. Despite the complaints of high prices and increasing commercial break lengths, there’s no denying that a one stop shop is often times easier than paying for 3-4 different streaming services to get access to entertainment.

We wanted to figure out why most people still prefer cable to more modern options so we ran a survey of cable subscribers across a wide range of demographics. We asked 785 people one simple question with the following options:

Why do you still have cable television?

  • Live sports
  • More TV show options
  • Not sure what to replace it with
  • Convenience

Our findings:

  • The older you are, the less likely it is you are aware of alternatives to cable
  • Women still subscribe to cable because they feel there are more TV show options in one place
  • Men still subscribe to cable because it’s the easiest place to watch live sports

See the full breakdown:

With no specific segmented considerations, the responses were pretty even between live sports, convenience, and more TV show options. But things started to get more interesting when we broke out the responses in specific demographics.

why do you still have cable

Men of all ages say they still subscribe to cable because live sports are harder to stream than watching on cable (% of total responses):

men cable subscriptions

Women of all ages say they still subscribe to cable because it has more TV show options and is more convenient (% of total responses):

women cable subcriptions

Of all the people who responded that they weren’t sure what to replace cable with, age was a huge factor. The older the respondent, the more likely it is that they are unaware of alternatives to cable subscriptions:

not sure what to replace it with

Live sports has long been the final frontier of traditional cable, as things like the NFL have remained particularly difficult to steam online and even less legal options are often riddled with viruses. But even so, we reported last month that the NFL is working on shifting their focus to digital options when their broadcast contracts end in 2022.

Sports have been a major cash cow for television networks, as they tend to bring in the most advertising revenue. Digital ad revenue has yet to match that of traditional broadcasts, thus there hasn’t been as much of an incentive for major sports to make the jump. But as advertisers (and more importantly, the general public) start to cozy up to digital streaming, so will the major sports leagues.

As far as having more shows to watch, it’s hard to argue with the fact that cable does still provide the easiest place to watch television with a single account and all the trimmings. It has actually gotten more confusing trying to stream our favorite shows and movies as more subscription options continue to spring up. It used to be simple, with just Netflix, but now it takes 2-4 streaming service subscriptions to get everything the average consumer wants.

Regardless, the trend towards streaming TV isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and as it only gets easier to find what you want to watch online, there’s no doubt the number of people cutting cable and replacing it with streaming options will continue to grow.

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