The Pulse @ 1 Market

Can cable compete with streaming TV in 2016?

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TV in 2016: Cord-nevers are the new cord-cutters
TV in 2016: Cord-nevers are the new cord-cutters

Cable companies may be forced to price their services more competitively now that streaming video services are quickly taking their share of consumers' eyeballs and dollars, according to one research firm.

"They can't raise prices like they necessarily have in the past," said Matthew Lieberman, who covers entertainment and media marketing at consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. "There's a lot of competition from new services … there's a lot of challenge around people cutting the cord, meaning they're stopping their subscriptions, or just trimming their cord, meaning they're reducing from premium down to regular subscriptions."

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Many former cable or satellite television subscribers have abandoned those services because of the cost, according to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers online survey of more than 1,200 U.S. consumers.

A Netflix subscription costs $7.99 per month, a Hulu subscription starts at $7.99 per month and Amazon Prime costs $99 per year. At the same time, the average cable TV subscription costs about $99 per month according to the Leichtman Research Group.

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Many TV watchers have both cable and streaming service subscriptions. "So in today's world, they're perceiving that they're paying more than they ever have," Lieberman said.

What's more, cable subscribers may actually feel like they have too much content to choose from. Lieberman said that the average U.S.consumer has access to 200 stations, but they're watching only17 of them.

"Consumers are clamoring for customization and control," according to PwC's report. Close to half of cord cutters and paid TV subscribers said they'd prefer to pick the channels they want to subscribe to a la carte, the firm found.

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Of 2,001 U.S. adults surveyed by Pew research, one in seven reported being cord cutters.

And as the trend persists, Lieberman said he expects 2016 to be a challenging year for cable and satellite providers, but it won't necessarily be a bad one.

DISCLOSURE: Hulu is a joint venture owned by Fox Broadcasting, ABC and NBC Universal, the parent company of CNBC.