I think right now execs are looking at Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO GO and seeing monthly revenue. Then they look at the average cable bill of $100 a month (of which their network receives far less than what Netflix. Amazon and HBO net per month per subscriber) and they think "if we can convince consumers to cut the cable cord and just offer up all our shows streaming for $10 a month we'll make a fortune!". The problem is, hardly anyone (HBO possibly being the exception) has enough in-demand content to actually get away with charging $10 a month just for their own stuff.
Then you have cable companies, who are not stupid. They see the writing on the wall, and they understand that the current model of offering up 300+ channels for $100 a month is slowly dying. It's a self--defeating system, as consumers eat up more and more quality content provided by the networks, the networks demand more and more money from the cable providers , resulting in either loss of subscribers due to rate hikes or loss of subscribers due to no longer carrying the network with the hit show(s) making outrageous demands. Premium channels, once the lifeblood of cable providers, have all but abandoned them, preferring instead to stream their own content for a monthly fee (HBO) or partnering with a streaming service to offer their content for an add-on charge (Starz). The cable companies know they have to do something, or risk getting left behind.
Every network streaming their own stuff for a monthly fee is not the path to a successful future. Consumers are not looking to replace a single $100 a month bill for 300 channels with a dozen $10 a month bills from the networks they actually watch content from. If the pay television system fractures into dozens of networks hawking subscription services, many of them will go under. Consolidation is still key, but the delivery method is going to need to evolve. Standard television viewing as we've know it for 50 years is dying. People want to watch TV at oddball hours, they want to eye-guzzle an entire season of a show in two sittings. They want to pause in mid-show and come back days later. They want their television delivery system to recommend things based on their previous viewing habits, remember what they watched and alert them when new episodes are available, and span a broad spectrum of movies, television shows and sports. They want the content of cable with the convenience and comfort of streaming, and they don't want to pay more for it.
That presents a challenge. Cable companies are going to have to evolve into content companies. There will be no more "primetime schedule", "ratings" will be calculated in all new ways (made far easier and more accurate with streaming delivery). If you want people to continue to pay a premium for television, you will need to change the way you deliver it to them while keeping the quality high and the content rich. I believe the merger of DirecTV with AT&T this past year was a direct response to the coming shift in television as we know it. I'm willing to bet those two companies have been cooking up a plan to deliver television content over AT&T's network. it's the only way I see current cable companies surviving in the new age, they become like Netflix, only instead of streaming a library of old shows, they stream a library of all the current shows from all the current networks (plus a massive library of older content) using a similar revenue model. They pay the networks to carry their content, and in turn, they can continue to charge consumers $100 a month. As a consumer, would you rather pay $100 a month for all the cable & network content you consume now, only in Netflix form, or would you rather pay a dozen providers $10 each to watch only the content they provide?
Companies like BrightHouse, Time Warner, Cox, etc. already have data infrastructure in place in millions of homes. If you have cable with Time Warner chances are you probably have internet with them for another $30 a month already. If Time Warner called you and said they would be willing to bump your internet speed up to the next higher level, switch you over to their streaming television service (complete with free "smart" adaptor box for any non-internet enabled televisions you might own) AND cut your current bill by $30 a month for the first 24 months...would you say no?