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Will Traditional TV Survive The Onslaught of Online Streaming?

2013 was a telling year in as far as television is concerned. Immediately after The 2013 Emmy Awards aired on 22 Sep, people started looking at television as rather an old thing. Things were a bit different. The nominee list featured some rather unusual players who are set to change the entire landscape of traditional television.

One of the biggest players during the show was Netflix; an online streaming service that experimented some original content. The streaming channel produced both House of Cards and Orange is the New Black two which were major hits during the award show. This was a huge concern because there is still an uncertainty of whether the digital world is taking over industry.

The move by Netflix to venture into original programming looks as if it is paying off. Statistically, 64% of Netflix subscribers have reported that they are viewing original content. Just to highlight how the digital world is taking over, Netflix managed to win three Emmy awards during the award winning ceremony. House of Cards was the biggest winner scooping the awards for the Best Director (David Fincher) and the Best Creative Arts for Casting and Cinematography.

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Online television and its rise

In the last few years, it looks as if the has been a paradigm shift from traditional television to online streaming. Neil Patrick Harris while introducing the show joked by saying,” TV is the thing you watch on your phones.” Come to think of it, he was not that far off considering the increased TV viewership on computers, smartphones and tablets.

The shift has been progressive. In 2010, according to a Retrevo survey, about 64% of the respondent watched some online television. In 2012, the numbers of traditional TV viewership had dropped significantly. About 500,000 households were no longer watching traditional television. The final outcome was that Comcast, a cable provider lost around 400,000 subscribers.

By the end of 2013, a market research conducted by RVA LLC confirmed that about 40% of people watch online television programs aired on services such Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and Amazon. Most of the viewership is for the youths aged 35 years and below.

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Why go online?

Perhaps the best reason that can be used to account for this shift is because watching TV online is much cheaper if compared to traditional television. Individual can subscribe to services such as Netflix and HuluPlus for as little as $10 per month.  Infact, internet providers have started providing Netflix as a part of their package. Virgin Media broadband packages bundled with Netflix start at £15 a month. Compare this to a basic cable package which would cost you around $30 per month.

This together with other factors is making online television to become much more prominent than traditional TV. When you consider the fact that services such as Netflix and Hulu are beginning to offer original content to their viewers, it is only a matter of time before traditional television is out done. John Farrell a director at YouTube Latin America predicts that by 2020, online television would have overtaken the traditional TV.

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