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Almost one fourth of people under 25 now watch most of their TV online. The authors of a new survey estimate that 800,000 U.S. households got rid of their cable subscriptions last year, and expect the number to double by the end of 2011. The loss is still small, given the 101 million subscribers nationwide, writes TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld, but cord-cutters “are a leading indicator of the shift to TV viewing on the Web.”
Interesting. We didn’t get cable TV when we moved to Philly, because we watched so little of it in Dallas. Recently, we added Wii capability to our Netflix subscription, giving us instant access to a (limited) library of movies and TV shows. It’s fantastic! There’s always something on you actually want to watch. I suppose if you watched a lot of TV you’d exhaust the relatively sparse Netflix offerings pretty quickly. But we don’t watch a lot of TV, and what Netflix has for us to watch instantly is satisfying. I watched an Apple documentary last night, saw “Man on Wire” after work last week, and caught a couple of episodes of “30 Rock” on the weekend. That’s enough TV for me, and again, it was all stuff that I really wanted to see, when I wanted to see it. How this kind of thing changes the economics of the TV biz I don’t know, but the Internet is conditioning consumers to expect what they want, when they want it, not what content providers want us to have at a schedule convenient to their interests. This is huge.