Some people have had it with TV. They've had enough of the 100-plus channel universe. They don't like timing their lives around network show schedules. They're tired of $100-plus monthly bills.
A growing number of them have stopped paying for cable and satellite TV service, and don't even use an antenna to get free signals over the air. These people are watching shows and movies on the Internet, sometimes via cellphone connections. Last month, the Nielsen Co. started labeling people in this group "Zero TV" households, because they fall outside the traditional definition of a TV home. There are 5 million of these residences in the U.S., up from 2 million in 2007. . .
Last year, the cable, satellite and telecoms providers added just 46,000 video customers collectively, according to research firm SNL Kagan. That is tiny when compared to the 974,000 new households created last year. While it's still 100.4 million homes, or 84.7 percent of all households, it's down from the peak of 87.3 percent in early 2010.
Nielsen's study suggests that this new group may have left traditional TV for good. While three-quarters actually have a physical TV set, only 18 percent are interested in hooking it up through a traditional pay TV subscription. . . .
More people are raised with the power of the Internet in their pocket, and don't know or care that you can pull TV signals from the air for free.
"They're more aware of Netflix than they're aware over-the-air is even available[.]"As one Zero TV household member explains, TVs have also grown to be ridiculously complicated (something that I can attest to from similar experiences):
"I'm pretty tech savvy, but the TV industry with the cable and the television and the boxes, you don't know how to use their equipment," he says. "I try to go over to my grandma's place and teach her how to do it. I can't even figure it out myself."Why pay for a hundred stations full of crap (often redundant crap) that you can't watch when it is convenient for you to watch, if you can even manage to figure out how to work the damn thing and censor out the crappiest of crap stations like shopping channels and channels that you don't actually subscribe to anyway.
Price absolutely is a consideration, however. And, Netflix runs a very tight ship. According to my dead tree newspaper this morning, it made a profit of just $2.7 million on revenues of a bit more than $1 billion, a profit margin of 0.27% or so (and this comes on the heels of a loss twice as large). Amazon has similarly skinny margins despite massive market share. Those companies provide what they do at very close to cost.
Comcast, Direct TV and Dish, I am certain, make considerably fatter profits relative to their revenues.