Streaming will be the default format for watching shows if cable TV doesn’t evolve

The end is coming for traditional television.

Brendan Lempe starts watching Netflix during class.

Em Paquette

Brendan Lempe starts watching Netflix during class.

It has been predicted for several years now that streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and even YouTube would soon replace traditional television. Now, in 2018, we are on the verge of a complete streaming take over. With Disney, Warner Brothers, and ESPN all trumpeting their up and coming streaming platforms it isn’t hard to believe that in a few short years traditional television as we have all known it may soon disappear.

Those who have been watching standard television over the past couple of years have surely noticed the impact of streaming. In order to compensate for the declining number of viewers, broadcasters have taken to using an unfortunate strategy: play a channel’s best-performing show on repeat all day without much variety. Anyone who lives with younger kids, or are kids at heart know this all too well because channels who target a younger audience have been the worst offenders. Channels such as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network have been heavily criticised for playing shows like Spongebob and Teen Titans Go during roughly half of the channel’s broadcasting time. On an average day, it can be expected that Teen Titans Go will be on air for six to seven of Cartoon Network’s fourteen broadcasting hours.

The shift away from diversity towards uniformity is indicative of weakening faith in the television industry as a whole

— Brendan Lempe

There is nothing inherently wrong with making use of a show’s popularity to maintain an audience. However, this shift away from diversity towards uniformity is indicative of weakening faith in the television industry as a whole. In fact, I believe that the television industry is well aware of their situation and is trying to get as much out of their remaining viewers as possible. Ironically, it’s these kinds of practices that have pushed people like me away from television making the situation even worse.

Many of the big time channels such as ABC, Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon have partnered with companies such as DirectTV in order to stream their shows or have created their own app for streaming. It’s really only a matter of time before these broadcasting companies abandon live broadcasting altogether in favor a system similar to Netflix or Hulu. Having what I want on demand is far more appealing than hoping that the show I like happens to be on at a reasonable time. While streaming may be the wild west of media at the moment I have no doubts that with time the wrinkles will be ironed out and on-demand viewing will become expected.

Over the course of 2018, titans of the entertainment industry such as Disney, Warner Brother, and ESPN will all be rolling out their own streaming services. Assuming they don’t completely bomb it isn’t unrealistic to assume that streaming will be the status quo for watching shows, movies, and sporting events. It may not be next year or the year after, but the end is coming for traditional television and considering the current conditions it’s probably for the best.