Image Credit: Twins/GettyPay cable just finished its worst quarter ever, according to a new report: Around 711,000 cable subscribers canceled their services in the last few months. But don’t chalk it up to “cord-cutting” — replacing cable with Internet programming options — just yet. It’s the economy, stupid. Well, that and the end of those sweet short-term contracts that cropped up with last year’s digital transition. (At least, that’s what the report says.)
Given the level or chronic dissatisfaction with cable providers — it’s expensive, it can be unreliable, it’s not comprehensive despite being “premium,” and hey, why do I have to pay for all those channels I never watch? — why haven’t more people just thrown in the towel? Why hasn’t the TV industry suffered the way, say, the music industry has? There’s not really one umbrella answer, but I’d say urgency is a factor: If you want to sit down on Sunday and watch True Blood, the easiest way to do that is still to have HBO. Even shows that go up legally on the Internet — on Hulu, say — can be unpredictable: Some shows go up the next day, others nine days later, and sometimes it switches part way through a season. Plus there’s an awful lot of shows that aren’t legally available online in any capacity — though when online music distribution was taking off, legality didn’t seem like a big concern for a lot of users.