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