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Amazon Prime is on pace to become more popular than cable TV (recode.net)
40 points by SirLJ on July 9, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 16 comments

I continue to feel as though the primary reason I would subscribe to Cable Television would be sporting events. This remains the main televised event where I can see the value in following along in realtime, and for which the advertising is already inescapable, making it feel like less of a slap in the face that I'm being advertised to in addition to also paying for the rights to view the content stream.

Fortunately, I don't actually care about sports broadcasting, so I ditched cable years ago and haven't looked back. (The other realtime argument I hear frequently is news, but I find a wide variety of online sources to be better at delivering this content anyway. I prefer to read my news.)

Youtube TV ($35/mo) seems like the best place for getting a variety of sports TV right now, and unlike cable you can watch it outside your home.

Unfortunately it's only available in a few markets right now. I assume it'll expand if it's successful.


I'd say the exact opposite. If it's successful, it's competitors (the vastly powerful Telco/Cable/ISP hybrid monstrosities that significantly grew from the scattered bits of Ma Bell) will move to squash it - Making deals with sports broadcasters, simply cutting off the deals with Google, or putting pressure on Google in other ways - They're gearing up to silently disrupt Google in a variety of ways, many of them underhanded (Which is what the Net Neutrality debate is actually about - They're negotiating for rents from Google, and the question isn't if they will, but how much).

It's only if it manages to gather steam slowly that it has a chance of really disrupting the networks.

(Of course, I still really wish Google had simply starved the beast in the early tens; In 2010 or 2011, Google could simply have put less effort into copyright protection and more into original programming, and utterly rewritten the Movie and TV industries in one fell swoop)

Sporting events can also typically be watched at your local neighborhood bar, potentially negating the need to subscribe to cable.

Assuming you support a local and/or popular team. If you've moved a significant difference but still want to follow a team you grew up with, the bar option might not be available.

Many cities have "go to" bars or social clubs to watch non-local teams. For College teams, often the alumni group will track chapters in other cities and they will have a preferred bar or meeting spot to catch games together.

Also, if you ask kindly ahead of time many sports bars, in my experience at least, are happy to accommodate an out of the way screen to a non-local game.

Get to know a bar close to you and often they will be happy to have your business on your game days. Find some other fans in the area and they are often even happier to have your business. Sometimes that's how those "go to" bars start and suddenly you find they are so happy for your business it becomes a thing and they have your team's logos on a banner outside announcing a game day drink special.

If you've moved out of your favorite team's market, most sports offer a fairly cheap paid online streaming plan.

I don't think Prime users have a particularly high utilization rate of the video service, though this might change with time. If you look at how many ratings on IMDB any of their originals have gotten, I see just tiny fractions of shows on broadcast or Netflix. The Man in the High Castle is perhaps their most popular show and it has ~50k ratings which isn't bad, but say, House of Cards has 365k. Stranger Things has 315k in a year. Fargo has 210k.

Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent have won major awards, and they both have ~16k ratings.

Agree that Prime video's catalog is highly limited. I treat it as a bonus perk that you get for subscribing to Amazon prime. Netflix's library is vast compared to it.

I actually just ditched my Comcast cable subscription for Google YouTube TV (https://tv.youtube.com) and loving it. Paired it with a Google Chromecast Ultra and Samsung TV.

Saved $60 a month and only missing History and Discovery channels. They have nearly all major US sporting networks and events as well.

This is an interesting look at how many people read beyond the headline. Most of the comments are references to Amazon Prime Video streaming versus cable TV and/or Netflix. The article itself states that Amazon Prime is used mostly for its shopping and shipping benefits and not for video streaming. The comparison to cable TV subscribers is purely to show the level of market penetration of Amazon Prime in US households.

For streaming, I still prefer Netflix. I don't like the interface of Amazon on the firestick or the phone app, though I do like a lot of the options Prime has that Netflix lacks.

For me Netflix is unusable of mobile because I simply cannot stream on LTE. I have a 1GB/day cap which gets blown away in 20 minutes. Prime lets me download shows on wifi and watch later.

I can see the frustration on that. I don't use mobile for Prime or Netflix, always wifi. But, I use Amazon Prime Music, and it seems to be much better designed for mobile than other streaming services I've used.

Not long ago, Netflix introduced the ability to download certain movies, too.

I don't understand why this is so shocking or surprising. Amazon Prime offers on-demand viewing (on top of the free shipping and all that) which is something cable TV doesn't offer, at least not to the degree that Prime does. Prime is a much better service and a much better value. Why would anyone be surprised?

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