NCTA — The Internet & Television Association

How the Cable Industry Increased Choice and Quality in Entertainment

How the Cable Industry Increased Choice and Quality in Entertainment

Woman with remote watching television.

A hallmark of the cable industry has been the willingness of providers and TV networks to constantly innovate in order to enhance the quality of entertainment experiences. A recent report quantified the industry’s total economic impact as $450 billion, up $29 billion since 2017. This number includes the infrastructure investments and advanced digital technology needed to introduce new content and services to consumers. These advances drive competition, and provide increased choice, variety, and quality TV content to U.S. households.

This commitment to creating and providing choice to consumers can be seen in a number of different ways:

Choice and Flexibility of Services

As the cable industry grows, so have the technological innovations needed to offer increased choice and flexibility to consumers. Consumers today have a myriad of choices when it comes to networks and other services that let them watch TV whenever and wherever they want. Video on-demand and services like DVR, as well as the proliferation of apps for on-the-go-devices like tablets and mobile phones, only add to this “enormous flexibility” that consumers now enjoy

Variety and Diversity of Content

Consumer choice, however, is not just about the number of programs and channels available, but also about the variety and diversity of the content offered. TV networks provide consumers with content focused on specific niches. Today, entire networks and a multitude of shows exist for all interests, from food and health to sports and science. In addition, there is now more and more programming that provides content for audiences of all types of backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures, including networks that are dedicated to Spanish-language content that serve the country’s growing Hispanic demographic.

Quality Programming

The quality of the content offered by cable TV networks continues to win over viewers and receive accolade after accolade. Cable networks won four of the six awards for outstanding programming series at the 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards. HBO and FX were among the most nominated platforms at the Emmy’s in 2018, receiving 108 and 50 nominations, respectively. At the 2019 Emmys, HBO became the most nominated network with 137 nominations. In addition, cable networks capture a substantial majority of all television viewing in an increasingly competitive media landscape. At any given time, 10 times more consumers are watching TV content than are using Facebook. Similarly, 13 times more are watching TV content as compared with watching YouTube.

All of these indicators point towards a future where innovation will continue to transform the media and entertainment landscape. For TV viewers, the possibilities are infinite.