According to a cable lobbyist group, cable TV is “failing” as a business due to rising programming costs and consumers switching from traditional TV subscriptions to online video streaming. “As a business, it is failing,” said Matthew Polka, CEO of the American Cable Association (ACA). “It is very, very difficult for a cable operator in many cases to even break even on the cable side of the business, which is why broadband is so important, giving consumers more of a choice that we can’t give them on cable [TV].” Ars Technica reports: The ACA represents about 750 small and mid-sized cable operators who serve about seven million customers throughout the US. The ACA has also been one of the primary groups fighting broadband regulations, such as net neutrality and online privacy rules, and a now-dead set-top box proposal that would have helped cable TV subscribers watch the channels they subscribe to without a rented set-top box. “The cable business isn’t what it used to be because of the high costs,” Polka said, pointing to the amount cable TV companies pay programmers for sports, broadcast programming via retransmission consent fees, and other programming. When asked about cord cutting, Polka said, “it’s the video issue of our time as consumers learn they have choice” from services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. “It gives consumers more choice, something that they’ve wanted for a long time, more control from the bundle of cable linear programming,” Polka said. “Our members, however, I think are very aggressive in how they are trying to provide consumers that they serve with more choice through on-demand [channels], through availability of over-the-top services, making sure that their broadband plan is fast enough to support a consumer’s video habits. So, yes, it’s a thing that’s happening today, cord cutting, cord shaving. But as an industry, our members are well primed to be able to serve their customers with their broadband service that allows them to consume the video they want.”
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