I Want My Internet TV

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Well, it’s happened. Sarah Palin has her own internet channel, free from the “lamestream media.” Palin seems to be just one more personality joining what seems to be a larger trend in our society. We’re moving on from television to watching content via the internet.

The Sarah Palin channel will cost you $9.95/month or $99.95 for a one year subscription. You can try a 30 day free trial via sign up with your Facebook, Twitter or G+ account. Of course I signed up via G+ cuz I don’t use G+ (just like everybody else). Sidenote: the sign up was for research purposes. I also don’t plan to actually watch this channel.

Along with the move (and in brighter news) you can soon watch Game of Thrones and The Leftovers purely from your ‘puter, too, no cable necessary. HBO rolled out a pricey $49/month plan that paired internet with only HBO this past year, but now plans to move on to a laptop near you, sans cable. The plan, according to Ad Age, will offer access to HBO through packages similar to Comcast’s “Internet Plus” plan. Of course, if you have an Apple TV, like me, you probably watch most HBO shows via internet anyway. The difference here is you wouldn’t need the local cable subscription to do so. HBO CEO Richard Plepler wants to convince HBO’s major pay-TV distributors that marketing HBO as an internet channel somehow benefits both the cable network and the younger audiences who simply don’t shell out for HBO currently.

Research firm GfK says 19% of American households currently live without cable. According to Bloomberg, about 28.7 million Americans currently subscribe to HBO. More than 30 million of those of us in the U.S. have a Netflix account.

Netflix, by the way, accounts for about a third of Internet traffic on any given evening in North America.

Now throw Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video in the mix. Nielsen research carves out about 18% of Americans as Hulu subscribers and 13% viewership on Amazon Prime.

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We’ve definitely turned our second screen into a first screen already for Hulu. Roughly 50% of its now 5 million Hulu Plus subscribers were streaming exclusively on devices in 2013.

It’s not necessarily cheaper to watch TV on the internet instead of cable. Getting out my calculator here… That’s $7.99/month for Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime for 99.99/year or $8.33/month, Netflix for $7.99, throw in some HBO GO for $49, some bundled seasons you may have missed on iTunes with a moderate $20 allowance, and of course internet access for all that plus any ESPN sports online for a possible $39.99 Xfinity/Comcast deal (note, I live in San Francisco, you may have better, cheaper local options where you live) for a rounded total of $134/month sans cable. That’s pretty close to what I pay now, actually, but without all the useless home shopping and reality TV channels.

We’re kinda using our mobile phones for TV as well, but that’s mostly us tweeting about shows like Dancing With the Stars while watching in real time. Though it turns out only 20% of Twitter users use Twitter that way. That’s also possibly because we are moving away from actual, live television and into our second screen as first screen with shows available on demand.

Bottom line here is cable TV may soon become a thing of the past. Our dollars and cents are moving away from big cable conglomerates that offer a few good channels stuffed with a whole lot of nothing else and toward shows we actually watch, when we want to watch them, and available at the tip of our keyboard.