SBU Prof: Streaming services are the future of TV

(Sarah Welliver/The Elkhart Truth)

If you’ve noticed that some of your local TV channels aren’t available with your cable or satellite provider, you’re not alone.

For example, TEGNA and DirecTV are feuding, which means people in the Indianapolis market who have AT&T or DirecTV can’t get the local NBC affiliate. AT&T customers also haven’t been able to get WISH-TV all year long. Same thing with NexStar and DISH network, meaning DISH customers in Indy can’t get FOX or CBS.

“Every three years, stations negotiate with these multi-program providers,” says Dom Caristi, a telecommunications professor at Ball State University. “What we’re seeing is one of these three-year periods, where they have to re-negotiate. It’s all about money.”

Caristi says these contract talks going nowhere is leading to local channels going dark, and that’s just another reason why more and more people are “cutting the cord.”

“Six million people will stop paying for cable and satellite this year. Just this year,” he said.

Those people are turning to the hundreds of streaming options that are now available, whether it be Hulu, YouTubeTV, Disney+, NBC’s Peacock or others.

“People have complained about cable packages, like ‘I don’t want to pay $100 per month and get all of these channels I don’t want. I just want to pay for the five or six channels that I want to watch.’ Well guess what? That’s coming,” Caristi said. “It’s mostly younger people who are quite content paying for one, or two, or even three ‘over-the-top’ services.”

Caristi believes streaming services are the future.

“Once upon a time, cable was a service that was available in 80 percent of American homes,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it were only in 40 percent in ten years.”

However, he says cable and satellite won’t go away entirely, because there are still some people that like the option of having 300 channels all in one place.

“The idea is that you need a universal search service, kind of like Google, that will allow you to find the program you want on the service you want.”

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