The Types of People Who Still Watch Movies on Cable

If you’ve recently pulled yourself from the abyss of a Netflix binge, you may be surprised to learn that cable television still exists. Yep. Millions of people still subscribe to cable television. What may be even more confusing to your streaming-centric brain is that some of those people are watching movies. On cable. With commercials.

By my count, if you want to watch a movie you’ve got the following options:

  • Go to a movie theater
  • Stream a movie to any of your devices through a Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu subscription
  • Watch one on a premium channel like HBO, Showtime, or Starz
  • Use On-Demand services from your cable provider
  • Buy a DVD from a physical store
  • Purchase a film from Amazon or Itunes
  • Rent a DVD from one of the 50 Blockbuster locations left, or from one of the few independent movie stores
  • Rent from a Redbox kiosk
  • Watch on one of the hundreds of niche subscription websites
  • Pirate the film
  • Stream it from an illegal site
  • Dig into your dated DVD collection

Which begs the question: why would you watch a movie on cable? The following list can answer that. Chances are that your weird neighbor or estranged uncle fills one of these categories:

  • Nappers who fell asleep with the T.V. on and whose arm accidentally changed the channel
  • People who normally watch daytime marathons of Law and Order
  • Moms who are baking and got tired of home renovation porn  
  • Those who can’t get enough of USA promos for its amazing shows
  • Dogs who like the T.V. on when they are home alone
  • Action fans who think there’s no place for foul language
  • People in the waiting room of a Doctor’s/Dentist’s office
  • Security guards
  • People looking for quality action films that you can’t actually find anywhere else: Bad Boys 2, Con Air, and S.W.A.T.
  • People who can’t commit to watching a full movie
  • Anxious watchers who prefer the suspense of a thriller to be broken up by 5-minute commercials
  • People over 40 who can’t get enough of the following classics: Forrest Gump, The Fugitive, The Godfather, The Shawshank Redemption, Goodfellas, and Die Hard
  • Children who prefer a “version edited for content and time”
  • People whose television is stuck on one channel
  • Lonely diners eating at a restaurant in the middle of the afternoon
  • People looking for a great laugh with TBS—”We’re Comedy”—during the following movies that have been on the air for the last 6 years: The Hangover, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Road Trip, She’s The Man, Role Models, The Break Up
  • Stoners looking for syndicated reruns of Seinfeld
  • Wrestling fans who have the schedule mixed up for WWE and decided to just watch a movie because they already got drunk on malt liquor
  • Kids skipping school who decided to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for inspiration

If you saw yourself in one of these, here’s some advice: get rid of cable and spend $7.99 on Netflix. Or borrow someone’s password. On second thought, maybe not. You probably don’t have a credit card. Or a computer. Never mind, keep watching Con Air.

Featured image courtesy of hjl/Flickr


  • You joke, but the next wave of rebellious kids will probably latch onto cable in 10 years because it is so reviled. Like the grunge, goth and now hipsters, the youth of tomorrow will despise Netflix and Spotify and seek the awkward reruns on the cable that their parents only own because they were forced into getting it in a bundle. They’ll call each other on the bundled land line to discuss Two & a Half Men reruns because they’re anti-iPhone 17.

    Man, the future is so bleak.