TV Viewers Ditching Pay-TV Services, Heading Online Instead

Do you watch TV online? Even occasionally? All the time? If you're reading this now, there's a better than average chance that you have consumed at least one or two television shows in your lifetime online, and that number is growing fast. More and more people are looking to the Internet to get their entertainment fix, and the reasons are numerous. First, the Internet is more convenient. It's almost everywhere, whereas your 56" HDTV is understandably fixed in your living room. The second reason is cost: watching shows online requires only that you watch ads, whereas cable, satellite and other pay-TV options continue to get more and more expensive.

One area that pay-TV companies seem to ignore is the fact that most consumers want only 10 to 30 channels; forcing them to pay for hundreds that they'll never watch has annoyed consumers for years, and just recently has an alternative come to light. That alternative is the Internet, and while certain channels still aren't available online, many are. According to a new report by Convergence Consulting Group, 600,000 consumers decided to do away with their pay-TV service last year in favor of just using the Internet and OTA broadcasts. In 2008, just 200,000 did so. Still, in the past 2 years, that means that nearly a million consumers have decided to stop paying for channels they never watch and instead go online for entertainment.

Those are still small numbers compared to the millions and millions who still subscribe to some form of pay-TV, but the trend is obviously shifting away from those traditional methods. As more TV goes online, and as more tablets launch to get that content to users in more places, it will become less and less compelling to still pay $100+ per month for a cable package, DVR, etc.

How has your consumption changed over the past few years? Have you directed attention to the Internet that used to be directed at your DVR?