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CBC’s the National is on YouTube, and the cord-cutting continues

the national youtube Your grandma watching The National on YouTube? It probably isn’t happening, but it could.

In yet another sign that television and cable TV are heading the way of the dinosaur, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has begun live streaming its broadcasts of flagship news show, the National, on YouTube.

Along with being available on their own cbc.ca website, last night’s edition of the National was streamed live on YouTube, a notable move as it represents yet another signal that broadcast television and cable TV are having far less an impact on the media landscape than in previous decades. For some time now, both news coverage and sports programming have been held up as the last bastions of cable TV, those two elements which, unlike the rest of television programming which has already made the safe transition to internet streaming services, were said to be bullet-proof, grade-A evidence of TV’s continued relevance.

Apparently, the cord-cutting revolution will not be televised. It’s streaming on Netflix.

On the sports front, cable TV has also been taking major hits lately in the United States, with substantial declines ratings for professional and college football and a veritable “collapse” in subscribers to ESPN, the country’s largest cable sports network. ESPN reportedly lost 621,000 subscribers in October, the biggest monthly drop in the company’s history, and is on schedule to lose at least three million subscribers for the year.

The trend is not reserved to sports programming, of course. Television service providers are facing dwindling subscriber numbers across the board. In March of this year, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) forced cable providers in Canada to offer “skinny cable” basic TV packages for $25, a response to consumer demand for more personalized and slimmer options. So far, the move has not panned out, as Canadians are still leaving cable TV in droves.

Reportedly, 100,000 TV customers have cut the cable cord during the first two quarters of this year, an estimated 13 per cent increase over losses from 2015. Still small potatoes compared to the 11 million Canadians who continue to subscribe to TV services, but the trend has been on the radar for some time now, all thanks to the rise in streaming services.

It’s a given that media consumers no longer have the patience to sit through traditional broadcasts, replete with commercials and available only on a particular date and time. Suffice to say that the whole notion of the Thursday night TV lineup is already quaintly in our collective rear-view mirror.

To that point, U.S. media company AT&T has just announced the launch of its own online streaming service, called DirecTV Now, which promotes itself as a streaming service offering a “cable-like experience” without the trappings of a traditional cable package. Aiming to compete with the Netflix and Hulu markets, DirecTV Now will provide a 100-channel streaming package, for the promotional price of $35 (USD), later to be upgraded to $60 – still a bargain when measured against cable subscriptions in the U.S., where the average cable subscribing household pays a whopping $103 per month for TV service.

Below: A recent episode of The National on YouTube

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About The Author /

Jayson MacLean
Jayson is a writer, researcher and educator with a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Ottawa. His interests range from bioethics and innovations in the health sciences to governance, social justice and the history of ideas.

Comment

One thought on “CBC’s the National is on YouTube, and the cord-cutting continues

  1. Contrary to the article, you always could watch The National without Cable. It’s broadcast on ATSC digital channel 6-1 in MPEG2 format with a datarate of 19 mbits/second in the Winnipeg area, and a similar ATSC channel in most major cities for Free in Canada. Cable has never been required to receive the main CBC network feed, in fact the digital feed over-the-air is of a higher bitrate than what’s offered on Cable via Shaw, Rogers, or Bell (they downsample to 11mbits/sec MPEG2). All that’s needed is a pair of rabbit ears plugged into your HDTV or yes, even a coat hanger works (I’ve tried it), to pick up clear pristine digital HD stations Over-the-air. Just pick up one of those 75 Ohm to 300 Ohm twin-lead adapters at a place like Radio Shack/The Source for a few bucks and wire a coat hanger into the Cable In/Antenna In port directly on an HDTV without any cable box. It’s funny, to this day when I show people this, they think I’m some kind of MacGuyver 😀 People just don’t generally know that local tv stations broadcast such high bandwidth, digital signals over-the-air and that the built-in digital MPEG2 receiver in every HDTV can pick them up without any external tuner box.

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