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The 2019 Emmy Awards were a huge win for cord cutters and another loss for basic cable

The 2019 Emmy Awards were a huge win for cord cutters and another loss for basic cable
Tony Shalhoub accepts the award for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards. [Photo: Danny Moloshok/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images]

I have a theory that much of the public fretting about cord cutting becoming too expensive actually comes from cable subscribers, who are upset that the value of their expensive pay-TV packages has evaporated for everything except live news and sports. As evidence, I submit the 2019 Emmy Awards, in which streaming services trounced the basic cable bundle in both winners and nominees.

Looking at the major categories on the Emmys website, here’s how the awards shook out this year:

  • 72% of winning shows and 78% of nominees didn’t require basic cable to watch. (This includes shows available next day on either Hulu or CBS All Access.)
  • 61% of winning shows and 57% of nominees never aired on a basic cable or broadcast network. (This includes shows on HBO and Showtime, which are available as pay TV add-ons or stand-alone streaming services.)
  • 39% of winners and 29% of nominees were streaming-only on either Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu.

If you’re paying the average $106 per month for cable or satellite TV service, you might reasonably wonder where all that money is going if it’s not delivering the best TV shows. A lot of it’s paying for sports, of course, but it’s also subsidizing the stand-alone streaming ventures of companies like Disney and NBC, whose respective Disney+ and Peacock services will have their own original series that won’t air on cable.

While those of us who are used to switching between streaming services or not watching everything in the first place will benefit from this shift, those who cling to the cable bundle will get hit with ever-higher prices for a shrinking amount of quality programming. The 2019 Emmys make this trend increasingly clear.

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