Comcast Pretends That Cord Cutters Aren't Cord Cutters If They Cut Cord Because Of The Economy

from the denial-is-a-channel-on-the-internet dept

A couple of months back, we noted that the TV companies were in complete denial, insisting that the idea that people would cut the cable cord to go internet-only would never happen. However, we noted with amusement that the same day, that article came out so did a report saying that cable TV had suffered its first ever decline in subscribers. It seems that's continuing. Comcast apparently lost 275,000 video subscribers in the third quarter. However, the company has an ingenious way to make it clear that those people aren't cord cutters. Why not? Because they're saying they canceled their accounts due to the economy:
Comcast lost 275,000 cable subscribers last quarter, and has lost 622,000 in the first 9 months of 2010. More evidence of "cord cutting"? Nope, says the cable giant. It's evidence that the economy sucks. That's the short version of the company's explanation for the drop during its earnings call this morning: It had a variety of reasons to explain the exodus of subscribers, but all of them revolved around money that their previous customers don't have or don't want to part with.
Um. That doesn't change the fact that they were cord cutters. One of the reasons why people will cut the cord is that cable TV is too expensive (something that Mark Cuban is still confused about). One of the things contributing to the "tough economic conditions" for people at home is the fact that their cable bill keeps going up and up to pay for the "billions" in retransmission fees that Cuban and others want to last forever. And that's only going to serve to drive more people to cut the cord.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    TPBer (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 2:32pm

    GTV

    Nuf said

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    chris (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 2:54pm

    after being internet only, broadcast TV is weird

    i watch one program on broadcast TV because i can't wait to watch the download (which i usually get 4 hours later), and the whole process seems so decadent and wasteful.

    the program takes like 65 minutes, instead of 40, i have to watch the clock until it comes on, it gets constantly interrupted with commercials, and they're the same commercials over and over.

    that kind of reckless inefficiency makes me feel like i'm doing something bad, like driving a humvee or eating an endangered animal.

     

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  3.  
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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

    People are also pissed about...

    ...being forced to pay for programming that they don't want or worse, find morally or politically offensive.

    In NO OTHER arena of American civil life are consumers forced to buy bundles of products. When I walk into a grocery store, I am not forced to choose between Family-Feed-Bag 1, 2 or 3.

    Television programming is NO DIFFERENT. The technology limitation excuses are holdover lies from the past. The boxes today have total discrete control over the channels gated through.

    Revolt! Revolt I say! Cut the cord! Smash the Dish!

    Make these bastards crawl back to us with decently priced ala-carte programming by network.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    rabbit wise (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

    Even if it is true, their own logic still screws them...

    Here's the problem with their logic -

    if they are actually right and people are turning off cable because they can't pay for it, they are going to find a substitute...that is cheaper and better...which means when the economy picks back up, no one is coming back.

    So they had better hope their logic is just as wrong as the cable-cutter theory or they are still screwed.

     

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  5.  
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    Pierre Wolff (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 2:58pm

    Metering Internet usage

    As you can imagine however, Comcast is in a unique position to not care because as soon as the exodus from the cable packages to over-the-top solutions gets too large they'll just start moving to metered Internet usage (which they're trialing already in some areas, I believe). Customers will begin getting dinged just as much if not more, from the bandwidth fees.

    I fear that the reality is that w/so little choice in the marketplace, we are at their mercy one way or the other.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Valkor, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:01pm

    Alternative media?

    Hey, satellite TV is awesome. Maybe people are just jumping ship. On the other hand, if I wasn't married I'd just play Guild Wars all evening instead of watching TV.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:02pm

    A good sign

    On the upside, at least people realize they can't afford everything and are cutting cable subs instead of, you know, not paying mortgages/loans.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:04pm

    With people realizing they can be their own cable, some people will get sad.

    Like Frankincense, cable may be a thing of the past.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    R. Miles (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:05pm

    Economy sucks?

    Call me a little old fashioned, but if nearly 1 million people left my business because my prices were too high for charging people 3 times for access to the same line, I'd be doing my best to keep them and offer a major drop in price.

    Once these people adapt without cable, getting them back is damn near impossible.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    Re: People are also pissed about...

    If you bought the dish do not smash it, you can use it as an enhancer to Wi-Fi direct :)

     

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  11.  
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    Valkor, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Alternative media?

    Oh yeah, and I DVR everything I watch because I don't have time to waste on commercials.

     

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  12.  
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    DCX2, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Re: People are also pissed about...

    Careful, hooking a wifi antenna up to a Dish can get you a visit from the FCC. There are limits on the amount of gain that an antenna is allowed to have, especially when your antenna isn't tested and licensed by the FCC...

     

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  13.  
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    rabbit wise (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Metering Internet usage

    Here's the problem with the whole metered usage. My cell phone provider provides pretty extensive usage stats for me. It did not take long to figure out that I didn't need the pimp-daddy plan at all. Thanks, Mobile-Phone-Provider for saving me $75 a month! (And I'm going to bet that there's a lot of folks like me.)

    And considering that I have a separate satellite and broadband companies - both of which have tv and internet services, hey, have at it. One will lose my business. The other may potentially gain my business. And I have a growing stack of books to read (paper...don't have to download them, thankyouverymuch)...

    Play your games with each other because you know what? I'm perfectly comfortable sitting home at night with NO TV or computer turned on.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    me, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: People are also pissed about...

    FCC only regulates Broadcast power. as long as you don't change that you are in the clear.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    me, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: People are also pissed about...

    FCC only regulates Broadcast power. as long as you don't change that you are in the clear.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    me, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: People are also pissed about...

    FCC only regulates Broadcast power. as long as you don't change that you are in the clear.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Karl (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:20pm

    Increase in broadband?

    That whole reasoning is really strange. If people were "cutting the cable" solely because of the economy, why did Comcast gain 249,000 high-speed Internet customers? Shouldn't they see a decrease there as well?

     

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  18.  
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    Chosen Reject, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:24pm

    I just did the opposite

    For the first time in years, I just subscribed to cable TV, and with Comcast no less.

    Granted, it was because subscribing to cable tv gave me the option of having a 10x internet speed increase for only $2 more per month. After the 6 month promotion period ends, I'll be dropping the cable TV and going to the slower internet service until my house is built in a neighborhood that has fiber and its own ISP.

    Also, does anyone know why ISPs still like to compare their speeds with dialup? I'd love to see USPS, Fedex, or UPS start comparing their speed with the Pony Express.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:37pm

    I tried to be a cord cutter....

    ... but Comcast was going to charge me an extra $20/month (and slower internet speed) for only having one service, so I pay $13.80/month for Limited Basic TV (basically the free to air channels).

    I bet I'm not included in the 275,000 people who cut their cable...

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:38pm

    Re: I just did the opposite

    Is is just me, or would anyone else use Pony Express for every single delivery?

    I'm on a pony.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Mister Duke, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: People are also pissed about...

    Say what??? The FCC does not test, or certify antennas. Better read part 15 dude. One thing you are thinking about is MPE (Maximum Permissible Exposure) limits based on whole body SAR (Specific Adsorption Rate) safety levels. As taken into consideration whether it (the antenna) is in a controlled, or uncontrolled environment, distance/height to the antenna, wattage of the RF output, losses in the cable, the frequency you are operating, and finally the gain of the antenna. As long as you follow safe antenna/engineering guidelines, and watch your MPE you should be fine. Now if you open your WiFi box you better know what you are doing to prevent harming yourself, and others. Also note that once you open your box it is no longer FCC type accepted, and if your cause enough interference that the FCC gets involved expect to be slapped with a NAL.

     

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  22.  
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    Eugene (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 4:04pm

    Re: Re: I just did the opposite

    If the option was still offered, I would totally use the Pony Express every chance I got.

     

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  23.  
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    Eugene (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 4:06pm

    Come on, guys. Let them live in their fantasy world a little bit longer. Denial is the natural first stage of the grieving process after all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    Christopher (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Re: Metering Internet usage

    Then to be blunt, rabbit wise.... you are the one out of a billion.

     

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  25.  
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    Christopher (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Metering Internet usage

    That is why the 'metered internet usage' needs to be stomped upon by the FCC, who have to say that if you offer a certain speed, you have to be able to download at that speed 24/7 with NO 'metering' of your service.

    Personally, I 'overuse' Comcast's service nearly every month (though they keep on saying that I only use 230GB's a month, the figure is closer to 1TB).
    The last time they tried to get on my case about it? I told them "Okay, then I will switch to FiOS and drop my cable TV as well! I will also tell my family and friends to do the same!"
    Their tune changed REALLY DAMNED FAST after that!

     

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  26.  
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    Atkray (profile), Oct 27th, 2010 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Metering Internet usage

    Since most rabbits live in nice comfortable(for rabbits) holes in the ground, and given what we know about the reproductive nature of rabbits, I suspect he is NOT one in a billion, rather he is one of billions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 5:44pm

    Why pay for cable when you can get the things you want when you want them without the forced ads. You'd think if im paying for the content already they wouldn't need ads to support it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 6:18pm

    Perhaps it has something to do with comcast moving some channels from their lower priced tiers to their higher tiers...without offering any new channels or a cut on the bill.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 7:16pm

    Re:

    What and give up a revenue stream because of the customer!

    Off with your head for saying such anarchist things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 7:44pm

    “Because Of The Economy”

    Businesses are having trouble because “the economy sucks”. Why does the economy suck? Because businesses are having trouble.

    So, is the state of the economy a cause or an effect?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2010 @ 10:43pm

    My wife and I cut the TV cord a few months ago and haven't looked back. Between Netflix and having my PC connected to our 46in TV for assorted 'other internet offerings we have not missed it at all and have NO intention of going back.

    Savings: $120+ a Month!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 12:25am

    8 years ago I was thoroughly dissatisfied with cable/satellite services.

    You pay for a month of programming, you get 2 weeks worth, mostly reruns over and over of the same shows. After the 2 weeks, what was on one channel of PPV has switched with another. If you have both services, you've already had the chance to watch all of it multiple times before the swap.

    Add very poor programming choices, humor so poor they have to use canned laughter to tell you where the punch line is so you can't possibly miss what was supposed to be funny, reality shows that are anything but, soaps that hold no interest whatever, and there is very little left actually worth watching. Cut that broadcast of the show by the commercial time and you have very little left.

    So I cut the cord way back then. I don't own a tv, don't want one, have no plans to ever buy another. Nor will I miss the subpar programming.

    One thing I did notice is that now-a-days, I realize just how obnoxious commercials are. When at someone else's house and one comes on, I want to get up and leave as it is the equivalent to nails on the chalk board.

    I no longer fork up and haven't for a goodly long time, any money for PPV or for running a tv. Tv watching is no longer a pastime in this house.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 5:14am

    Not surprised to hear BS coming from ComCrap!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 5:54am

    Re: GTV

    Boxee, nuff sed.

     

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  35.  
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    Greevar (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 5:57am

    Re: after being internet only, broadcast TV is weird

    Ads are a waste of energy your TV could be making better use of. Such as watching video you want to see.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 6:35am

    Re: Increase in broadband?

    They're executives, not programmers or mathematicians. What did you expect, logic?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 7:11am

    At $60.00 plus a month, we would rather eat. So we cut the cord and actually got better television. We always get the networks now and we also get 4 channels of PBS that is the best programming I've ever seen. No rate increase is a wonderful thing. ComCast actually got too expensive for normal people and priced itself right out of the market. Likewise with Direct TV. Who needs them?

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 7:17am

    Congress wouldn't let the consumer order only the channels we wanted so we split. I pay for their internet and watch only the shows I really want to watch from one of the download sites.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: I just did the opposite

    To funny ... Im on a horse ... :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 8:03am

    Re:

    "Denial is the natural first stage of the grieving process after all."

    Record Labels
    TV Studios
    Newspapers
    Magazines
    Books
    Movie Studios

    Am I missing anyone??

    Also with the number of people the content industries "Employ" (20% of the US population) shouldn't the US have gone for a mental health insurance plan instead of ObamaCare?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    BoloMKXXVIII (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 8:34am

    no tears

    HTPC w/OTA & Roku give me more content than I have time to watch. Cable got the boot a year ago. Don't miss them one bit. Comcast will become a regulated "dumb pipe" for internet access. Once they have real competition in that area they will be out of business.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    vastrightwing, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 8:41am

    Incompatible business model

    Cable's business model is incompatible with consumer choice. Current model is: Provider(s) -> Carrier -> Consumer. Where consumer has choice A) Pay and B) not pay. This worked in the past because there was no competition. Now there is lots of competition and consumers have choice. The model now is:
    Provider(s) -> Carrier(s) -> Consumer

    The carriers are RF (over the air), Satellite, Cable, TCP/IP (aka Internet).

    The game is changing. The entertainment industry is resistant to change because it's worked well for a long time and even today still rakes in a ton of dough for them. Basically the carrier was the middle man. The providers had no contact with the end consumer. This allowed the providers to avoid competition and they could charge whatever they wanted since they controlled the content the provider could offer to the consumer.

    Today, consumers have choice and consumers are waking up and realizing they can avoid the problem of a single carrier and opt to drop it altogether and use alternative methods of entertainment. The traditional model is dying. It's only a short matter of time before we hear the industry start crying for taxes to be levied to support the dying industry. Yes, this is a repeat of the music industry woes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    chris (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re: after being internet only, broadcast TV is weird

    Ads are a waste of energy your TV could be making better use of. Such as watching video you want to see.

    if given a choice between ads or no ads, everyone would choose to not have ads. but if there is no way around ads, why not make them at least interesting to watch?

    if you bought the air time, why not have 10 variations on an ad, so you don't burn the viewer out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
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    chris (profile), Oct 28th, 2010 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: People are also pissed about...

    OP is probably talking about the cantenna hack where you point your cantenna at the satellite dish:
    http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&biw=1280&bih=802&gbv=2&tbs=isch%3A1& ;sa=1&q=satellite+tv+cantenna&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

    there's no opening of devices, you're simply attaching the pigtail and changing the antenna from an omni-directional to uni-directional and then to a parabolic. it's about using the parabolic shape of the dish, not the TV hardware or frequencies.

    the frequncy and wattage stay the same, the dbi may increase, or decrease depending on the design. most of these hacks just change the shape of the broadcast area, making it more linear in the case of the cantenna and more conical in the case of a parabolic antenna. people do similar things with woks, strainers, and fry baskets:
    http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&source=imghp&biw=1280&bih=802&q=wok- fi+antenna&gbv=2&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

    the FCC has better things to worry about than parabolic dish mashups, like folks who use firmware to change the frequencies the wifi card is broadcasting on:
    http://www.defcon.org/images/defcon-16/dc16-presentations/defcon-16-de_bouvette-farina.pdf

    ( frequency manipulation stuff is toward the end, parts of the 4ghz range are supposedly reserved for military applications.)

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 12:30pm

    Re: People are also pissed about...

    Oh yeah? Just try to go into a supermarket and try to buy an egg. As in singlular.

     

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  46.  
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    Jason, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 5:35pm

    A woo hoo, a woo hoo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2010 @ 5:36pm

    Re: A woo hoo, a woo hoo.

    A big black horse and a cherry tree, a woo hoo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Irwin Starr, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 8:39am

    The cable program cost/retrans fee dilemma

    There is only one logical solution to the retransmission consent dilemma as well as the demand by cable networks for increasing their fees. dilemma Let the marketplace determine what television channels are worth by requiring unbundling of all channels, place a price tag on each, and we'll soon know what the public wants and is willing to pay for. There should be three types of cable channels available: 1. Those for which the subscriber is charged. 2. Those willing to pay the cable company a fee in order to reach viewers. (Those could include channels on which the cable operator makes a commission-such as shopping channels.) 3. Those would for whatever reason are deemed mandatory for carriage, such as city, County, public school, public service, etc. This approach would keep retransmission consent fees in line because the stations and networks would realize viewers can simply go to over the air coverage in most viewing areas, returning them no direct revenue in retransmission consent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    MediaMathGuy, Oct 29th, 2010 @ 9:10am

    Sorry to burst your bubble about cord cutting - it's not that prevalent. People are more likely to cut premium services than the entire TV package, and providers bundle triple plays to keep consumers in the fold on both platforms. Comcast can't say they are losing to telcos!

    All MSOs are losing out to Telco and to a lesser extent, DBS.

    Last 4 quarters (3Q09 to 2Q10):
    Cable lost 1.6MM HHs
    Telcos gained 1.2MM HHs
    DBS gained .8MM HHs
    Net gain .4MM HHs

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    I did it, Nov 1st, 2010 @ 8:37am

    cut the cord

    I'm a cord cutter because when I moved I felt like cable prices were just too high. So I watch broadcast TV via my antenna in excellent HD. Any other show I want I watch on the internet. I will probably never purchase cable again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    lisa, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 8:27pm

    Re: Economy sucks?

    Yeah people are cutting the cord because yes its too expensive plus I,m paying for cable when all need is internet. I'm in Florida any suggestion for just internet company.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Jim Dwyer, Apr 25th, 2012 @ 12:47pm

    Cut the cord in Canada too!

    Its time for consumers to cut the cord and send a message to these companies. We are not idiots and know you are gouging us every month. I cut the cord a few months ago in Canada and I hope a lot more do the same in Canada and USA!!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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