The Cable Industry Thinks Cord Cutting's A Fad That Will End Once Millennials Procreate

from the the-lies-we-tell-ourselves dept

One narrative that broadcast and cable industry execs use to comfort themselves late at night while sipping bourbon is that cord cutting is the realm of the foolish youngster, and that as these folks age they’ll suddenly see the wisdom in paying an arm and a leg for traditional cable. Nielsen, the TV ratings company that goes out of its way to tell the cable industry what it wants to hear, has been pushing this narrative hard lately; arguing that as the 18-to-34 demographic begins having children, the idea of giving Comcast $150 a month for huge bundles of awful channels is going to suddenly, somehow become appealing:

“We think behaviors could change once the so-called millennials start having families,? said Glenn B. Enoch, senior vice president for audience insights at Nielsen. New parents? desire for better programming for their children will help drive them to cable, media executives have predicted.

Nielsen’s confidence appears based entirely on the fact that Millennials with kids are slightly more likely to subscribe to cable than their childless counterparts, for now:

About 80 percent of millennials with their own homes who have started families subscribe to cable, and an additional 14 percent get television with an antenna, according to Nielsen. Only 6 percent have just broadband connected to a television set. Among childless millennials who live in their own homes, about 75 percent subscribe to cable television, while 13 percent live in so-called broadband-only homes.

Of course, that doesn’t mean much. When it comes to the ratings hit being seen by traditional cable channels, children’s programming has led the charge, with parents being much happier with the flexibility of time-shifted viewing experiences like Netflix. Meanwhile, 2015 was really only the first year that skinny bundle streaming video services started to take off (Sling TV, Sony’s Playstation Vue), and the rise of affordable streaming options is only going to improve as broadcasters release their iron-like grip on licensing rights.

It’s also worth reminding readers that Nielsen is the same company that just a few years ago declared cord cutting to be “purely fiction,” only recently realizing that maybe it would be a good idea to start tracking these users’ viewing behaviors.

One major thing Nielsen’s ignoring? The rise of the “cord never,” or the customer who doesn’t have cable and has absolutely no interest in getting it. A new study by Forrester Research makes the exact opposite claim Nielsen is trying to sell, predicting that by 2025, 50% of consumers under 35 won’t pay for traditional cable. The survey of 32,000 U.S. adults found that 76% subscribe to cable. Of the 24% who don’t, 6% are cord cutters. 18% however are cord nevers, which the firm declares “the next stage of evolution in TV viewing”:

“Rather than inherit TV viewing expectations from a prior era and then consciously reject them, as cord cutters have done, these cord-never viewers have simply bypassed prior assumptions, exhibiting nearly the exact set of behaviors that cord cutters have pieced together for themselves over the past decade of viewing,” wrote Forrester analyst James McQuivey.”

In other words, there’s a huge contingent of young consumers for whom “normal” is not paying an arm and a leg for cable. Why, exactly, would these users, used to the flexibility and lower costs of streaming video (or piracy, or YouTube “let’s play” videos) suddenly, inexplicably decide that they want to throw money at a legacy cable industry that refuses to compete on price? Sure, older consumers are more likely to pay for cable now because that’s all they know, but as streaming services get more established older audiences too are leaving the traditional cable wheelhouse.

So while it may upset the cable industry (and the folks that make their lives on the back of the cable industry) to hear it, no — the trend of dropping ratings, dwindling subscriber losses and fierce new competition from Internet video is not something that’s going to be magically fixed by waiting for Millennials to screw.

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Comments on “The Cable Industry Thinks Cord Cutting's A Fad That Will End Once Millennials Procreate”

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87 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

... come again?

New parents’ desire for better programming for their children will help drive them to cable, media executives have predicted.

First off all, you can’t help but love the levels of optimistic denial they’re showing here. Their business model is burning to the ground around them, and yet they still cling to their delusions that it’s ‘just a phase’ that people are going through, and that any day now people will realize what an awesome deal cable is…

Any day now…

On to the main point, ‘better programming’ and ‘cable’ most certainly do not belong in the same sentence unless joined by such words and phrases like ‘is not/isn’t’, ‘is the opposite of’, or ‘is the wrong thing to consider if you’re interested in’.

People are dropping cable, or never picking it up because of a lack of ‘better programming’, and because once people are used to on-demand entertainment, going back to ‘Watch at this time or be forced to wait and hope it shows up on re-runs’ is pretty much not going to happen.

PRMan (profile) says:

Re: ... come again?

If my 78-year-old computer illiterate dad didn’t live at my house, I would have cut the cord years ago.

Already, my older daughter is at college and watches shows for free on sites like fox.com, cbs.com and cw.com.

My younger daughter watches anime and is likely to watch Netflix, Hulu or CrunchyRoll on her phone with headphones.

I can’t see either one of them paying $100 a month for cable. Why would they?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: ... come again?

You should see if you are in OTA HDTV range: http://transition.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/dtvmaps/

If you are, there are several options once you buy a HDTV antenna. I’m using a tablo box and the ROKU tablo app to watch all the OTA local TV (for free). That along with netflix have filled all of our watching needs here.

The cost for the tablo and antenna is paid off over less than 3 mos of cable bills…

OBTW, I’m 52 and cut my cable off less than 6 months ago…

Anon E. Mous (profile) says:

Re: ... come again?

You left out the fact that cable co’s have been jacking up rates constantly while telling the customer “you cant have this without taking that, oh and that will cost you more”.

Not to mention all the other little ways they can nickle and dime you for other things on your bill.

Cable is much like the movie and music industry’s have been to loathe to give up that lucrative and captive consumer cash stream they used to have monopolies on and way too resistant to change with the times and consumer demands.

Is the demand still there, sure it is, but it isn’t what it used to be and it will go further down hill as more people can get their media delivered thru other means at much better costs and in a more convenient way.

TheResidentSkeptic says:

Cutting the Cable and Dropping the Dish

No cable service where I live (in spite of it being available in my area…) so I got a dish when I bought the place. Well, now that I have 20MB bonded DSL (with the “no home phone” option!) I am dropping the dish as well.

Let’s do the math… my bill goes from $180/month to NetFlix + Amazon + Roku… seems to be a savings of about $150/month to me. I even bought one of the roku TVs for the bedroom. As the equipment becomes more prevalent in the market (hello Nvidia Shield!) the industry is going to find that the drop is not a gentle downhill slide – more like a cliff dive.

Proud to be both a Cord Cutter and a Dish Dropper! Let’s see you track those stats!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Tuition Ate Their Lunch

This issue seems to be grossly underestimated. I’m in my mid-30s and my SO and I are likely never having kids since it took us so long to get real jobs and I still have $40k in loan debt and our mortgage.

I have friends who just got married at 32 and she’s unemployed despite a college degree and he’s working full time at a crap wage despite a college degree. They probably won’t be able to afford kids for a while. Her sister just had a kid at 36.

The Millennials will likely be having kids a lot later also and they’ll have gotten so used to using newer options a la carte that subscribing to cable will be a foreign concept to their children.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Tuition Ate Their Lunch

We cut the cord recently as paying >$100 a month for largely a bunch of crap was bad economic sense. We’re in the 18-34 range and had a kid a few months before cutting the cord. The baby was the catalyst to cut the cord, and unless the industry starts including day care and student loan forgiveness in its TV packages we won’t be coming back any time soon. I suspect we’re not alone in taking that position.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have three children – a 12 year old girl and a pair of 5 year old boy&girl twins. We cut the cord a couple years ago and have not missed it whatsoever. My 12 year old has commented several times on how she doesn’t like cable because the content is so bad compared to what you can get online anyway 🙂

In fact, for a couple years there, we still had cable but never watched it. The kids always wanted netflix or other streaming instead of broadcast.

The reason for this is childrens desire to rewatch the same episode over-and-over-and-over (OH MY GOD SOOOOO MUCH DORA!!!! And don’t even get me STARTED on the movie Frozen!) They rewatch and memorize and sing along with each episode and you can’t do that with broadcast — you can only do it via streaming, DVRs, or other mechanism of selecting specific episodes.

The other item of interest has been the selection. when it comes to childrens shows, with broadcast you really are limited to what’s being made today, for the most part. You see lots of currently-produced stuff but it’s tougher to find older shows. My 12 year old has started exploring classic TV and finding stuff made before she was born (she likes Tom&Jerry cartoons, classic Scooby Doo but she decided she hates Gilligans Island, etc).

My 5 year old son LOVES the original Power Rangers and you’re certainly not seeing that on broadcast either. My 5 year old daughter is really getting into Strawberry Shortcake or My Little Pony stuff… again, can you even find that broadcast? I don’t think I’ve seen any of that type of thing on the air.

All in all, there isn’t a lot for kids on broadcast TV, compared to streaming. Having said THAT, there are a couple current shows that I’d like to get but can’t — mostly Disney stuff like Miles from Tomorrowland or Star Wars Rebels. For those few items, I can wait and it’ll show up streaming somewhere in a year or two. We certainly aren’t struggling to find things to watch!

Bamboo Harvester (profile) says:

Re: Re:


The reason for this is childrens desire to rewatch the same episode over-and-over-and-over (OH MY GOD SOOOOO MUCH DORA!!!! And don’t even get me STARTED on the movie Frozen!) They rewatch and memorize and sing along with each episode and you can’t do that with broadcast”

My kids are pushing 30 now. And I can STILL sing any Disney tune from memory. And the Buffy musical episode, every song, and… 🙂

Geno0wl (profile) says:

Better Deal for Kids?

For “young” kids there are from my experience only three main channels to watch. Disney Jr, Nick Jr, and PBS. One of those easily comes over broadcast.
Even then Kids SHOULDN’T be watching THAT much TV to begin with. My kid is perfectly happy only watching a few shows a day, or mixing in a movie and a show while GASP playing outside with real toys!
Also as kids get into the elementary age the “on demand” TV experience makes even less sense to their technology minds. Nothing else in their lives is forced on them, why should they wait for their favorite shows as well?

Anonymous Coward says:

these company/industry bosses, like all the rest concerned and involved with entertainment, pull a ridiculous set of numbers out of the arses of long dead beings and throw them at a wall, hoping that some of the shit contained in them will stick!! i’d like to know where the 80% figure came from, let alone the numbers of new contracts that are going to materialise in a few short years!
there isn’t a single member of the entertainment industries, whether film, music, books, cable, games or anything else that accept the changing times and that they wont go back to the ’20’s-’60’s! their whole idea of being is to stop progress from happening now and prevent any progress that is in the pipeline or may be in the pipeline in a short time from ever reaching the consumers! what is so devastating is that powerful politicians, under ‘help’ from Hollywood etc are doing whatever they can to aid the industries with that holding back/killing off of new devices, better devices and equipment, a lot of which would make them more money than they are making at the moment! how stupid fear of the new, the unknown is!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

What part reads like a shill?

I’m not the only person saying sports programming is cable’s biggest asset. I pay for MLB streaming, but they still black out local games and so I need cable if I want to watch those. Get rid of blackouts, then I would rethink my cable stance.

Either way though, $2 / hour sounds about right for me. I don’t like commercials and I do like binge watching, so I look for series on Netflix first. If it isn’t there, I’ll buy a season an Amazon or iTunes. If I don’t want to wait until the end of the year, I Tivo a bunch of episodes and watch them back-to-back.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Either way though, $2 / hour sounds about right for me.

How many people watch cable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? When I had cable, it was background noise, running three or four hours a week. $150/30 = $5 a day for background noise, which doesn’t seem like a lot. However, when I left, cable had almost tripled in price between when I started and when I left, and they were talking about another increase in price. Lots of money being thrown away each month for background noise.

I spend ~$30 a month for background noise (Netflix/Amazon, and once-upon-a-time, I paid for Hulu, but then realized that I could just attach a computer to a TV and I could watch far more content on Hulu without paying for ads.) Far cheaper, and I don’t feel bad when I don’t use it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

$5 / day is a lot of money if you aren’t actually watching anything. But if you watch an hour or two of television, then it starts seeming a lot more reasonable.

You and I are outliers though. The average American watches 5 hours / day, so that works out to about $1 / hour on the cable package you have. Considering how good television is these days, that’s not a terrible price.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

But if you watch an hour or two of television, then it starts seeming a lot more reasonable.

I don’t mind spending $5/day on entertainment. I just don’t thin that any amount of television is reasonable waste of $5/day. If I want mindless entertainment, I spend $20 on a video game, and I can play that game for weeks, whenever I want. Terraria was probably the single most reasonable use of $20 for entertainment in recent years, and the added advantage is that I can bring up my server and host a game for all my friends.

The problem for the cable industry, which has been said many times here already, is that there are so many options now-a-days for entertainment, that the heady days where they were the only game in town are long gone. Sticking their head in the ground, forcing their customers to change their habits instead of changing their own habits, will do nothing to stem the tide.

You and I are outliers though. The average American watches 5 hours / day, so that works out to about $1 / hour on the cable package you have. Considering how good television is these days, that’s not a terrible price.

I am not an outlier (and from the looks of this article, I am not alone either in doing what I am doing)…I haven’t removed all television from my life…I still have an antenna, and still (occasionally) watch TV (usually the news, or Big Bang, if I just happen to hit it on the night its playing.) Though I have mostly switched to streaming what I want to watch either directly from the provider’s website (cbs.com for Big Bang, southpark.com for South Park) or via Netflix/Amazon/Hulu. But most of the time, its playing in the background, occasionally capturing my attention. And I am not paying $5 a day for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

If I want mindless entertainment

You and I see television very differently. I really enjoy the television that I watch and wish I had more time to spend watching. I watch what I can and throw the rest on my to-watch list (which is filled with things like The Wire, Sopranos, and Mr Robot).

> that there are so many options

Yep. It’s pretty awesome. When I was growing up, I was often bored and looking for something to do. Thirty years later, I can’t remember the last time I felt bored. I have the opposite problem now – too many things I want to do and not enough time to do them all.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: Re: Beyond mindless vegetating...

What part reads like a shill?

“I have cable mostly because it’s the easiest thing to do”

Beyond mindless vegetating, streamers are actually much easier to deal with. There’s no schedule to think of. There are no devices to program. Even if you don’t care what you’re watching, you can still mindlessly vegetate in front of the tube for less.

Wendy Cockcroft says:

Re: Re:

Well they’re being told by the Right that if they can’t afford kids they shouldn’t have them. So they’re not having them.

You need a well-paid job and a great healthcare package before you should even consider procreating, and those are becoming hard to find even if you have a degree so don’t be surprised that the birthrate is dropping. Given a choice between raising a family and living in poverty most of us will not choose poverty.

Anonymous Coward says:

What’s funny to me is that I do have cable comcast and the on demand is pretty funny considering most of their paid/rent/buy is free on netflix with just a subscription it’s amazing they don’t consider checking and offering the same films for free or more content being as they are NBC / Universal, (cutting the cord dec 1st).

Anon E. Mous (profile) says:

“We think behaviors could change once the so-called millennials start having families,” said Glenn B. Enoch, senior vice president for audience insights at Nielsen. New parents’ desire for better programming for their children will help drive them to cable, media executives have predicted.”

Wow! Someone tell the cable execs to tell Mr.Rourke and Tattoo I said hello while they are at Fantasy Island.

Because that’s really the only way I can see how the Cable Exec’s believe that cord cutting will stop.

Anonymous Coward says:

I may have mentioned this before here, but it bears repeating. Back in January, Kodansha, one of the big manga magazine publishers in Japan, started publishing digital editions of it’s manga magazines on the same day the print magazines were officially released. At the time the head of their digital business made a remark that’s been translated as “our rivals are not just other publishers, but also videos and games. I want to come up with a way to get [audiences] to choose [our content] from among all the ordinary content.”

The cable companies really should take that comment to heart, but they don’t seem to have fully grasped it. They’re acting like modern computing and the devices and services it’s given rise to will die out, and their only real competition is other cable networks. They should be realizing that video games, digital books, and the general internet with all it’s social functions, video and image hosting services, amateur comics and fiction, and so on and so forth, are it’s real competition.

People who watch 2-3 hours of TV per day during prime time? It’s real easy for them to kill 2-3 hours another way. New book is out? Don’t even have to go to the bookstore, just download it onto the readers/tablet/phone of their choice and go. Kids want to play video games? Play them with the kids, bonding time with the kids and make sure they aren’t playing something they shouldn’t, or playing with assholes with potty mouths. Or kids have gone to bed? Time to play your video games. Want to sit back and watch something? There’s Netflix, Amazon Prime, and a legion of other video services. That’s not even getting into Youtube and Twitch, and other services with user created and uploaded video. You can kill a lot of time sitting back and watching a video game tournament, or people doing stupid things on video, or videos of cute cats. Then of course there’s image sites like Imagur, 9gag, FunnyJunk, etc. You and kill tons of time looking at them. Or reading webcomics. Or chatting on social media. Or reading websites or blogs. Etc etc.

In short, there is a shit ton of things for people to do today for entertainment other than sit down in front of a screen at a preset time. A certain age group having kids is not going to change that. The sooner the cable companies figure that out, the better it’ll be for them.

Violynne (profile) says:

The blind leading the blind.

This reminds me of those stories of people crashing into things because their GPS told them too.

Nielsen has never, ever been an accurate measure of people’s viewing habits. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, the entertainment and advertising industry relies on its data as though it’s accurate.

If these industries wish to continue burying their heads into the sand, let them fail.

This will ensure new startups will take over, and call me optimistic to believe they’ll do so without the legacy idiocy we’ve dealt with for decades.

Anonymous Coward says:

I am just now looking at cutting, or trimming, the cord

Lets just say I am in my 40’s and now looking at cord cutting or at least trimming. Between the cable & internet bill and a cell phone bill I am spending a car payment a month. I can’t seem to find a way to trim the cell phone bill but I have found I can cut some fat out of the cable bill.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Same here, which is why I am not technically a cord-cutter. But I am a cord-cutter in the sense that I haven’t even connected the cable TV box.

Cox said that they were cheaper when bundling the TV and the Internet bill together, and it seemed, looking at their glossy ads that it was cheaper (nevermind the fact that they really went out of their way to make it impossible for you to cut cable TV off the bill and keep internet,) when the bill actually arrived and I discovered that fees, taxes, tariffs, energy recovery, rentals, etc., increased the bill by ~$50, that it wasn’t at all worth the $10 off for bundling cable and internet. My parents, who still have basic cable, spend ~$200 a month on their bill, a good percentage of it being fees and other costs. I spend $99 a month for my cable bill, and thanks to the Internet Tax Freedom Act, there are no taxes, tariffs, rentals, etc., on that bill (though that may be changing shortly.)

Median Wilfred says:

Parents and cable

As a parent who cable cut, I have to say “HA HA HA HA HA!!!”

We had cable. As the kids got a little older, we had to put Nickelodeon on the “do not watch” list (informal, not via “V Chip” or parental controls) as the advertisements were so intrusive and convincing and for whacky crap. Then, we put “Disney” on the list, then more and more channels, until we were down to Animal Planet, Sprout, Discovery and network Tee Vee. We missed a payment to Comcast, got cut off, and hardly noticed it, because Netflix and Hulu plus.

Those cable execs are fucking dreaming if they think parents don’t pay attention to what their kids watch on cable, and decide that cable networks are too full of commercials for crap that is bad for the kids, or just unwanted. Netflix is mostly commercial free, as is Youtube, and kids enjoy it more.

As a parent, and advertising aware, I can say to the cable execs: Go pound sand. You’ve been irrelevant for about 5 years already.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Parents and cable

“Today’s gonna be a scorcher.
Tomorrow’s gonna be even hotter.
Hotter?
Like yesterday.
Yesterday? Yesterday you said you’d call Sears.
I’ll call today.
You’ll call now.
I’ll call now.”

Ask anyone who watched cartoons in the late 90s early 00s and they could probably quote that damn commercial by heart too.

JoeT says:

Do thier statistics reflect an honest market

I consider myself to be “the last of the gen-x-ers”… on the edge between a young Gen-X and a very old Millennial. I’ve had cable TV twice; once while in school and currently. Both times, it was because the place I was renting came with it.

What percentage of their penetration numbers come from such bundled deals? I don’t want TV, don’t care about TV, and am more than willing to go to a bar for the very few things I want to see on TV (MLB playoffs and certain Olympic events). I seriously confused the tech when I wanted to set up the internet, but had to explain that the TV was in a box (somewhere-ish, fuck if I know exactly where) and likely wouldn’t be unpacked for a few months, so no I can’t tell you what is on channel 2. Just give me internet before I rip your head off.

I’ve never separately paid anyone for TV; I’ll pay comCrap for internet because they’re the only game in town, but I can pass on their video service. Since it’s bundled with the rent technically I have it, but it’s been at least 6 months since it’s been used, and I don’t foresee any reason for me to start doing so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wrong connotation

“Rather than inherit TV viewing expectations from a prior era and then consciously reject them, as cord cutters have done…”
This makes it sound like the option to cut the cord has always been there and people decide one day to switch. That’s not the case. I’ve been interested in “cutting the cord” since I first started paying my own cable bill back in ’89. (Before leaving home, my TV watching could be measured in shows/month – ST:TNG and any other decent sci-fi, otherwise I didn’t watch.)
Grammatically, it is a correct statement but it insinuates (to me) curd cutters have always had the option and only now are starting to do it. The streaming options (Netflix, Amazon, etc), the bandwidth available to residential addresses (Fiber, high speed DSL/cable), the eqpt to bring this more main stream (Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, etc) – the whole package needed to abandon cable – are just now getting to the point where cord cutting is a viable solution for the non-technical John Smith and family. I feel like this is a point people are missing.

Cord cutting didn’t happen in the 90s. It didn’t really happen in the ’00s. It’s taken until recently for the market as a whole to mature to the point people saw it as a better option. We did not “drink the kool-aid of our forefathers and are just now shaking off the dogma”. We waited until the combined factors made the choice viable.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

By Mail Order

I recently bought three hundred and fifty movies on DVD’s from Edward R. Hamilton, for about a hundred dollars, in sets of twenty-five and fifty movies. That is more movies than I can watch in the foreseeable future. At the most conservative computation, this purchase is at least ten times cheaper than anything the cable company is offering, or, alternatively, than the ISP bandwidth to support any streaming service.

In respect to children’s materials, I find, consulting Amazon, that you can get a “Sesame Street Learning 3-Pack (All-Star Alphabet / Learning About Numbers / Guess That Shape and Color)” DVD for $12-13, and obviously, that is going to go really a long way. You can get an assortment of other Sesame Street DVD’ for about twenty dollars each.

Old movies are not time-sensitive, nor is children’s material in any form, and you can get them by mail-order at modest prices. You can be fairly sure that, say, Jule Andrews (Mary Poppins, Sound of Music, etc.(*)), is not going to become a porn star. Vide Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana, no such assurance is possible for the young women presently performing in children’s television. Once they get too old to pass for twelve, they will have to find new employment, perhaps not of the most dignified character.

(*) Available in various DVD editions on Amazon for $8-$10.

BT says:

The Antenna thingie

We are using this strange device in our attic. It is called an antenna. We get something like 150 digital channels over the air.

The picture quality is stunning, superior to Direct TV or FIOS – had both in the past. The programming is frankly superior to basic cable which has devolved over the years to a bunch of garbage assembled with the seemingly sole objective of creating an upsell to “Premium Content”.

The cable company call constantly with fine offers for us. I actually don’t tell them the truth about the antenna in the attic. The less they know, the better.

Chris says:

Re: The Antenna thingie

Where the heck do you live that you can pick up 150 channels with a freakin’ antenna? In the most cosmopolitan place I’ve ever lived, there aren’t more than maybe FIVE local broadcast stations, and I didn’t think there were even 150 channels available in the OTA broadcast band to begin with. Something here doesn’t seem to add up. Please clarify.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Antenna thingie

In the most cosmopolitan place I’ve ever lived, there aren’t more than maybe FIVE local broadcast stations.

I live in southern California, and get about 20 with my antenna. More than 30 if you count the ones in Spanish.

Most major stations have one or more “sub-stations” now with digital HDTV, so channels like 7 have 7.1 and 7.2. Some come in better than others, and I occasionally have to turn my antenna to get better signal, but I get far more than 5. Maybe in Kansas you’ll only get 5, but I’ve seen the same traveling to other parts of the country.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The Antenna thingie

It is definitely possible.

Not to brag or anything, but in LA, California, you do get about that many stations (as long as you have a good place for your antenna).

Since the whole country switched to digital TV (not so long ago), yes they are all digital stations. With digital stations, they have this “trick” – you can have channel 4-1, 4-2, 4-3 etc etc instead of just channel 4. So, it is entirely possible to have well over 100 stations, even if there are “only” 100 channel numbers available.

However… digital does not necessarily equal hi-def. Most of these stations are standard definition. The hi-def ones are the networks, and PBS, pretty much. 720p is the best one can get OTA.

Among the hundred plus stations my antenna gets me access to, are stations that specialise in reruns of older TV, black&white movies, religious channels, non-English programming (many different languages, not just Spanish), the shopping networks, PBS, as well as both standard and high-definition versions of the big 3 (ABC,CBS,NBC)

Apart from PBS, OTA is mostly (to me) junk. And just like regular cable, full of commercials.

At least I don’t have to pay monthly for it like with cable TV.

Digitari says:

cost

I pay for basic cable with my rent, I pay 35$ a month for 50 MBps internet it’s a “bundle” price because I have basic cable. I love Suddenlink, it’s fast and reliable, and I get 55MBps download speed (yes it is actually FASTER then what I pay for) most of the time, like 98% of the time. Even at “peak” times I still get no lower than 48 MBps.

JPR says:

Millenial dad

Maybe I’m just an oddball, but I was a happy cable subscriber *until* I had kids — then the thought of all the brainless, ad-infested dreck on Comcast’s dozen “children’s channels” pouring into my living room made me nauseous. One sewer line in our house is enough.

PBS Kids on Roku is all I use now, and when the kids get a bit older, Netflix w/ parental controls.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

“New parents’ desire for better programming”

Honey BooBoo
Kardasians

While they sometimes manage to create compelling content, much of what is out there is mindless drivel meant to fill out the 1000 channels so they have more slots to sell advertising.

People are no longer bound to the “must watch tv” mantra and are demanding it be on their timetable, cable tv premium packages are built around 1 or 2 desirable things tacked onto filler to try and make them forget they are paying a huge premium for a few things. They aren’t going to have kids and suddenly become their grandparents, they are going to seek out what they really want at a reasonable price or find something else that will meet their wants.

Blind thinking like this will lead to the implosion of the cable ecosystem, the only winners will be the end providers who will be scrambling to add more bandwidth to deal with the demand they never thought would happen.

Anonymous Coward #69 says:

I would bet an arm and a leg the exact opposite to their predictions will happen. My parents have cable. I don’t have anything but my computer connected to my TV set since everything I might want is available online, for me to watch at my leisure. I’m old enough to have kids of my own, and these kids are used to watching what they want when they want. Now, all of a sudden, the cable subscription model that only appeals to my parents but that me and my children find old-fashioned and downright stupid, is going to get more popular? For… like, exactly zero reasons?

signalfire (profile) says:

They're sociopaths...

I cut the cord over a decade ago when I finally realized I was surfing through channels desperately hoping to find something worth watching without ever finding anything. I’m old enough to remember pre-TV, as well as pre-cable (when they promised us lots of programming and no commercials EVER!) I recently started living with an elderly man who still has cable and the quality of programming, and the volume of idiotic commercials for rank capitalism, is appalling. Most of the shows are violent – murder ‘mysteries’, jackass lowlifes fighting over who impregnated who, breathless ‘news’ programs about yet more murders and car crashes, simpleton talk shows led by people who never seem to know what’s really happening in the world, and more bloody or brainless drama shows or sitcoms that aren’t even funny. The ratio of decent programming to dreck doesn’t begin to make up for the 20 minutes of commercials every hour, or the fact that it takes 3 hours to watch a 2 hour long movie. In short, this programming deserves to die, die, die and the sooner the better.

Gourdman (profile) says:

Why pay for access to ad-laden content?

I cut the cable when it became apparent that 95% of my TV viewing came via Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, and other streaming services.

In other words, I was already paying for streamed content because cable couldn’t satisfy my viewing appetite for quality documentaries and classic foreign film.

Far from being a faddist, I’m now a cord cutting evangelist who has invested in two new streaming boxes: one for Hulu, Netflix, and other popular apps, and one for Kodi, giving me access to the wider Internet. Cable offerings, in comparison, seem very puny indeed… And incredibly overpriced.

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