On-demand content from the mainstream outlets is also everywhere — Apple, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Microsoft and Sony are all happy to take your money to deliver programming that once was exclusively distributed by cable and satellite providers. Roku just got a bundle of investment cash from NewsCorp after selling some 3 million set-top boxes this year. Apple sold 1.3 million Apple TVs just last quarter, and over 4 million so far this fiscal year.
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Yet the cable operators continue to thrive largely because they operate as natural monopolies — the upfront capital costs of laying new cable keep potential competitors at bay. The satellite services don’t fare much better in terms of consumer love, and they too enjoy similar barriers to entry (satellites!).
But get ready for a sea change. Even if you’re tied to a subscription television service today, there’s a great chance you’ll become a cord-cutter in short order.
Everything we know about cable and satellite service is rapidly mutating. Both content delivery platforms are finally facing competition, and it’s coming from a hundred different directions. YouTube is muscling in on traditional cable channels with live broadcasting and by producing its own content. Hulu, Netflix and Amazon are all experimenting with original programming, too.
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