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All industries decimated by the Internet.
Cable television, on the other hand, has been surprisingly resilient against the onslaught from streaming video. Despite the rise of the web, pay TV has remained a dominant factor in our daily doses of news and entertainment.
That's largely because of the lack of live TV offerings, especially news and sports. Just try to imagine life without FOX News or ESPN. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is coming off several years of very strong growth.
However, that's changing rapidly.
In fact, a new statistic I just saw tells me that cable will soon be as dead as the morning newspaper – and much faster than anyone expected.
Today I'll show you that stat.
And we'll look at a great way to play the growth in online streaming.
It'll put you on the road to wealth – fast.
Check it out…
Live… from Silicon Valley
I'm a free man myself.
My wife and I have been loyal Comcast customers for more than 20 years. In fact, I still use the company for our high-speed Internet connection and have no intention of switching.
But our television is an entirely different matter. We just got tired of paying for what seemed like hundreds of channels we never watched and switched to a streaming service.
We're far from alone.
Indeed, Comcast's stock is in a downtrend after recently saying it expects to lose as many as 150,000 viewers in the current quarter.
In other words, we are at a tipping point in which the death of cable TV is upon us.
And streaming live television – sports and news – is the reason.
In recent months, services like Sling TV have come on strong. Sling offers live shows from ABC, CNBC, CNN, ESPN, and FOX, to name a few.
Cynics point out that we may end up paying more over the long haul for streaming content. But surveys show that consumers prefer to pay for what they are actually using – instead of paying for hundreds of channels they barely know exist.
A new report by eMarketer says that by the end of 2017, a total of 22.2 million U.S. adults will have cut the cord on cable, satellite, and telco pay TV. That's a 33% increase from the 16.7 million cord cutters in 2016.
That's way ahead of schedule. The research firm had predicted that only 15.4 million users would ditch pay TV last year.
That's a death spiral.
The long-run picture for online streaming looks even brighter. Fact is, millions of young adults – including my two college-age daughters – haven't watched pay TV in years. Then there are the millions of children who have never watched cable, except maybe at their grandparents' house.
By 2021, eMarketer says, the number of cord cutters will nearly equal those who have never had pay TV, an astounding 81 million U.S. adults. By then, roughly 30% of American adults will be streaming their content, including live TV.
This is bad news for cable companies like Comcast.
But it's great news for savvy tech investors like you…
The Great Disruptor
This year's Emmy Awards shows just how important online streaming has become. Consider that one streaming leader in particular had some 91 shows and movies it produced up for awards.
We're talking about 91 shows and movies produced by Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX). That's up from 54 just one year ago.
Netflix is now the first choice for a slate of top-tier talent. Big names like Kevin Spacey, Adam Sandler, Sissy Spacek, Lily Tomlin, and Drew Barrymore have all anchored popular Netflix shows or movies. That's all part of a content budget that now surpasses $6 billion each year.
Netflix makes a tough business look easy. It has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on local servers so you can stream high-definition video without any delays. Its service can be viewed on Blu-ray players, smartphones, set-top boxes like those made by Roku Inc. and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), and even on airplanes.
Netflix's massive presence at the Emmys makes clear one simple point. It's a vital content provider that deploys every trick of the trade to keep subscribers hooked, month after month.
The Rise of Netflix
Make no mistake. Netflix has been the most disruptive force in the viewing and streaming landscape today. It's the result of 20 years of hard work.
Many home viewers first got an inkling that they could live without pay TV when Netflix began its DVD-by-mail service in 1998. Less than a decade later, it had already mailed out more than 1 billion DVDs.
The move to streaming soon emerged. And sometime in the next six to nine months, this service will surpass the DVD-by-mail option in terms of sales.
Netflix isn't just an American success story. Half of its 104 million subscribers stream films and shows in other countries. In response, the firm has greatly boosted its roster of foreign-language films and shows.
With each passing quarter, Netflix proves its mettle and its shares surge higher. In the second quarter, it posted $2.79 billion in sales and, more important, added 4.14 million net new subscribers. That's 60% better subscriber growth than analysts had predicted.
Since I first suggested it to Strategic Tech Investor readers in March 2014, Netflix is up 208.5%.
But that's not the end of Netflix's rise.
Here's how I know…
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.