R.I.P. CABLE TV: WHY HOLLYWOOD IS SLOWLY KILLING ITS BIGGEST MONEYMAKER

As subscribers and viewers flee, media companies that once relied on cable TV are chasing streaming dollars instead.

Francesco Muzzi for Variety

Earlier this year, people started noticing something peculiar about MTV’s schedule: The network had quietly morphed into an almost 24/7 offering of just one show. At one point in late June, “Ridiculousness” — a half-hour viral video-clip show hosted by famed skateboarder Rob Dyrdek — aired for 113 hours out of the network’s entire 168-hour lineup. Many took it as a sign that MTV, a pioneering force in reality television that only a few years ago had also made major investments in original scripted programming, had just given up.

Pundits had long predicted the death of broadcast TV, while basic cable feasted on a dual revenue stream of subscriber fees and advertising revenue. But that gravy train started going off the rails when the streaming services arrived. At first, Netflix was a friend, supplying yet another source of revenue and even acting as a marketing tool — helping to turn AMC’s “Breaking Bad” into a much bigger hit during its final season of originals on AMC, for example.

But as AMC soon learned, consumers began thinking of “Breaking Bad” as a Netflix show — and Netflix was using acquired library content to quickly change viewer habits. Last year, the streamer launched more original programming than the entire cable TV industry had a decade earlier.

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