As Customers Vanish, Cable Companies Introduce Streaming Like Skinny Bundles

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Cable customers are sending the message loud and clear: they’re tired of paying for bloated television packages filled with channels they never watch. And as big cable just put up its worst quarter in history, traditional pay TV is scrambling for a fix.

People are cutting cable in droves, and streaming television services like Sling TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu, and YouTube are on the rise. And it makes sense why. Customers are much more willing to pay for a television subscription if it’s $30 or $40 a month for 40 channels they watch than over $100 for 120 channels they don’t watch.

And big cable is catching on, as companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable have introduced “skinny bundles” that are virtually identical to streaming offerings.

Most often, it’s channels like TNT, TBS, Disney, and History that can be found in these packages, as those are the most popular networks. Networks like Discovery and A&E are noticeably absent from most skinny bundles, as they often command a higher price tag than others. And when the price tag is the main attraction, that’s something there’s just no room for.

The cable companies aren’t the only ones to figure this out either, as CBS recently launched their very own network specific streaming channel, CBS All Access. That channel has not only current and past CBS shows, but even programming that’s exclusive, like The Good Fight (a spinoff of the popular series The Good Wife).

The television landscape has changed, that’s for sure. And as streaming television services put more pressure on traditional pay TV to lower their prices and give customers what they want, expect the changes to continue. Of course, for the customer, this competition only results in lower prices.

Cable TV may not be “dead,” but it’s never going to be the same.


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Artie Beaty

Artie Beaty is a freelance writer from North Carolina who follows the world of streaming closely on a daily basis. Contact him at or on Twitter @AboutCharlotte.
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