Technological change in the digital age happens at breakneck speed. For the second half of the 20th century, the three main cable networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS dominated the airwaves. In many homes, these were the only channels available. Image quality was far inferior to what it is today as families huddled around their oversized, 50+ pound televisions to catch Walter Cronkite delivering the evening news.

Flash forward to 2020, and the picture is drastically different. The choices for what to watch have expanded exponentially. Dish Network now offers customers hundreds of channels to choose from in a number of different packages to meet their viewing needs.

The Streaming Revolution

Of all the ways that American TV viewing habits have changed, the streaming revolution is the most remarkable. With the advent of YouTube and Netflix and the thousands of copycat platforms that followed, the web is awash with streaming services. The factors that drive streaming include a desire for on-demand viewing, the increasing prevalence of niche markets for unique video content, and faster internet connections that make transmitting streaming the large quantities of data needed for streaming a possibility in the first place.

Industry players that don’t keep up with changing preferences among consumers and the massively shifting realities of content delivery are doomed to fail. Underestimating the importance of streaming is a massive mistake for companies hoping to expand their market share.

One study found that 60% of young adults exclusively or primarily use streaming services to view content rather than conventional methods. Most young people don’t even have a subscription to a legacy media service like cable.

In the survey conducted by Pew Research, men were more likely than women to use streaming services. Young people used streaming services at markedly higher rates than older Americans. The survey report notes that, within a single generation, internet streaming will overtake television as the primary resource for getting the news.

As with many societal trends, urban and rural areas report varying use of streaming services, with rural residents reporting higher reliance on satellite networks like Dish to access television and streaming services in areas that do not have other resources.

How Dish Network is Adapting to the New Entertainment Landscape

In evolutionary terms, businesses must adapt to changing consumers’ demands or die off. Dish Network offers a user-friendly, on-the-go streaming service to keep customers connected to their favorite programming from anywhere. It receives regularly great reviews from users who liken its ease of use and convenience to the more well-known Netflix service.

Dish rolled out its streaming service, Sling TV, in 2015. It now has two and a half million subscribers in the US, making it one of the most successful additions to the network in recent memory.

Sling TV is an over-the-top (“OTT”) service, meaning that it connects viewers to their favorite shows directly via the internet rather than going through conventional cable fibers or satellite feeds. Many analysts see OTT as the future of television. Roger Lynch, the CEO of Sling, has publicly advocated Sling TV as a “direct replacement for cable and satellite.”

Dish Network is further adapting to the new realities of television with the ongoing construction of its 5G network, tentatively scheduled for completion with the next few years. Once successful, the unique capabilities of fifth-generation internet connections will enable wildly transformative advancements in how we see and experience media in the future.

Stay tuned for exciting new developments in how entertainment is delivered to consumers as we move into the next chapter of the digital age.