The Future of Streaming Sports

The rate the television industry is moving mirrors the effects of the newspaper industry. The information is valuable and interesting, but it is also incredibly inconvenient and archaic in comparison to the power of smartphones and computers. Streaming platforms have transformed we view media. Mediums such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon have all taken part in the strike for gold as they continue to create new, original content that rival the content of traditional television. Netflix shows such as House of Cards won an Emmy for best direction. With the new method of streaming, Netflix has rose to 81 million subscribers as of April 2016. In contrast every major cable company has lost paying members. According to Time, “during the second quarter of 2016, roughly 812,000 U.S. customers canceled their pay TV subscriptions” (Time). Sports is the staple of the television industry because “According to CouponCabin.com, 43 percent of cable subscribers said the key reason they would not drop their cable subscription is “because they can’t live without sports.” To that end, sports account for 37 percent of all TV Everywhere viewing today — with more and more college sports packages showing up online, and viewing options becoming available in hi-res on mobile devices, tablets and computers.”

As long television has a hold on sports, they have the opportunity to maintain their traditions and show its conventional coverage. However, people are begging for innovation and in a world where “more than 1.1 million households cut the cord last year, with about the same number expected to get off the cable bandwagon this year” (Fortune). As the trend continues to push forward, television cable will come to an ultimatum to fight the losing fight, or evolve and allow streaming to be the main platform to watch sports. As of now there are already certain apps available for people to use to stream their sports online. For example, WatchESPN is an app that allows one to stream the content on mobile devices such as smartphones, computers, and tablets. However, users are still required to have a Television provider and pay for cable.

The sports television industry stands in a power play position with the audience. Even though the dollars spent are diminishing, they still provide a hefty number that supports the stations. Nevertheless, the future of television is clear in the online streaming platforms, and it is only a matter of time before sports must succumb to the inevitable transformation. The people want convenience and we are speaking with our dollars every month proving to cable companies what we desire. I believe cable is still necessary and at some points is actually more convenient in itself, but streaming is where the future is moving towards and the children of this generation are built on that platform. Whether one think it is sad or not, television is slowly but steadily no longer being played on television sets but instead computers. Another big difference between cable and streaming is the difference in how the advertisements are shown. At the end of the day, the television industry is a business and the point is to generate revenue. However, streaming platforms have proved that there are other ways of execution to create revenue and show advertisements in creative ways that are more bearable to the viewers.

The way cable is set up is to have certain prime shows that people want to watch and package them with a variety other channels that are not primarily used. By bundling shows together, cable companies can raise the price to exploit the package. If people want to watch sports, ideally they want to pay for a price that is proportional to what they are actually watching. The NBC Olympics of 2016 was notorious for having terrible coverage of the events. Many events were unwatchable or not considered covered well. In their defense, they offered online streaming on the NBC website. However, the user interface of the site was difficult to navigate and the average user was left in the dust. On the YouTube channel, NBC showed highlights of the events, but it was distracting because the audio was poorly mixed and they only showed 40 seconds of each event followed by a 30 second advertisement for NBC. While cable companies are playing catch up to reach what the consumers want, they still have a long way to go. Companies such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are on the rise for a new era of television. Soon enough, there will be a new era of watching sports as it shifts to streaming platforms.

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