Cable is dying: Almost 1 million ditch pay TV for better and cheaper digital options

© Romeo Ranoco
The Great Digital Shift is officially on. The old school world of paying for television is quickly dying as the latest numbers on cable subscriptions have revealed.

While there are still around 98 million pay TV customers in the US, an estimated 820,000 people canceled their bundled video service from cable, satellite or telephone companies in the second quarter of 2016, according to a study from SNL Kagan.

This means nearly a million viewers can no longer watch RT America or other cable news networks, although, unlike CNN and Fox News, they are able to stream all RT channels live on this website.

The drop off echoes findings from the Leichtman Research Group earlier this month which estimated that the 11 biggest pay TV providers in the US, which represent 95 percent of the market, lost 665,000 subscribers in the same period this year.

The rapid attrition is building on a trend started in 2010 after the emergence of digital paid services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu - as well as “illegal” options like BitTorrent and direct downloading.

Ian Olgeirson, an analyst with SNL Kagan One, described the new drop as a “bit of an acceleration and the biggest quarterly loss” to the LA Times.

By the end of 2015, around 24.6 million of all US households, or 20.4 percent, were cable free, according to Fortune, with this latest data from SNL Kagan adding to the death of the dominant industry.

When compared to the same period last year, there’s now almost 1.4 million fewer people signing up to cable contracts, instead making the switch to digital products like the ones you find every day on RT.com.

The cable industry so far has failed to offer a la carte packages, instead forcing customers to pay for channels they never use, often to get access to sports channels.