Netflix: A Joke of an Alternative to Cable TV

Recently, Netflix enthusiasts launched an assault on cable companies in attempt to build Netflix up not only as an alternative to cable TV, but the best alternative. This is hardly the case.

By definition, cable television is a system of providing television programs to consumers, and although Netflix does function as a cable company in this aspect, it’s missing a number of the major reasons people opt for cable television in the first place.

In a recent poll of American consumers, 66% reported that they originally purchased cable TV packages to watch their favorite prime time television shows or catch their favorite sports team’s latest game. The rest reported that they simply purchased their cable TV packages as a means to quelling their boredom whenever they have down time. From this, our definition of cable TV can be added to and instead of simply being a system of providing television programs to consumers, it can be a system of providing the latest television programs and sporting events to consumers.

Taken this way, it’s hard to make the case that Netflix is an alternative to cable TV, let alone the best alternative for the majority of consumers. Why? Because Netflix doesn’t offer the latest television programs and sporting events to its customers. It simply offers a library of aged television shows and movies that can be accessed at any time. And, although Netflix enthusiasts like to say that the latter feature puts Netflix leaps and bounds above cable TV, it’s a feature that cable TV offers as well through paid premium TV channels and DVRs.

And, that’s really all Netflix is: a paid premium TV channel. For a fixed price you get access to the Netflix library of relatively antique movies and television shows and barred from the ability to relish in your favorite prime time TV shows and sporting events.

So, can Netflix diehards really make the case that it is a cable TV alternative? Given all the above, any attempts to do so are laughable. The only people Netflix may appeal to are those who don’t interact with their cable TV packages like the majority of people do. These are the people who don’t really watch TV and only use it sporadically to quell their boredom.

Ultimately, the entire debate boils down to whether Netflix can ever really gain traction among the majority of consumers as an alternative to their current cable TV packages. Given the results of the poll and the breakdown of the areas in which Netflix falls short to cable TV, the answer to this question is simple: No. Netflix will never be able to gain traction among the majority of consumers as an alternative to their current cable TV packages, and it’s a joke to even attempt to build up Netflix like it will.

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