Overhype

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
cord cutting, internet, myth, tv



Once Again With Feeling: Cord Cutting Is Not A 'Myth'

from the ignoring-the-bigger-picture-to-make-a-point dept

For years we've noted how the cable industry (and companies that feed off of it like Nielsen) have been in stark, often comic denial about the changes happening in the legacy cable sector. But every few months or so, a select rotation of news outlets also feel compelled to pooh pooh the entire notion of cord cutting, broadly declaring that the idea is a "myth" perpetuated by a select cadre of mean bloggers hellbent on confusing the public for some unfathomable reason. More often than not it's the editors trotting out the "myth" headline to gain hits, despite the story itself doing a piss poor job actually debunking the concept.

One case in point is the Boston Globe, which recently proclaimed that because cord cutting is happening slowly in a country jam-packed with Luddites, the phenomenon at worst isn't real, and at best isn't important:
"The thin trickle of households that have dropped pay TV in recent years is barely enough to make a dent in the industry. Just under 100 million households have some form of pay TV according to Nielsen surveys, whether it comes via cable, satellite, or alternatives like Verizon Fios and AT&T U-Verse. That’s lower than it was a few years ago, when 105 million households had pay TV, but it’s hardly a revolution and there’s no sign of an accelerating trend."
A five million user drop hardly constitutes a "myth," but there's another problem with that analysis: just looking at pay TV subscriber totals doesn't tell the full story. One, several cable companies have started including their own $15-$40 standalone streaming service customers in with those totals, meaning the total tally of "pay TV subscribers" now includes -- ironically -- customers that have cut the cord. For example, Dish Network last quarter proclaimed it saw a net gain of 35,000 pay TV customers. But the company is now including its Sling TV streaming video customers in that total. Subtract those, and Dish actually lost an estimated 215,000 traditional TV customers.

Comcast has now quietly started doing something similar after launching its $15, creatively-named "Stream" service in several beta markets. And while yes, these are technically still "paying TV customers," the difference is more than just semantics if you're analyzing which customers still subscribe to traditional television -- and paying upwards of $120 a month -- and which customers have flocked to much, much cheaper standalone streaming platforms (still a rarity among cable companies that don't want to cannibalize their own TV rolls like Dish appears willing to do).

The Globe continues:
"A separate survey by the Leichtman Research Group found that about 83 percent of households had pay TV subscriptions in 2015. That's down from the 87 percent with pay TV in 2010, but actually higher than the 81 percent in 2005. Bottom line, pay TV remains a staple of the American diet.
Again though, just looking solely at total TV subscriptions doesn't illustrate what's actually happening. Another trick cable companies have used for years is to offer broadband and TV service bundled at a promotional price point significantly cheaper than just getting broadband alone. As a result, you've got millions of households that sign up for TV only because it's the better deal. In many cases these users, especially Millennials, aren't even using -- and didn't want -- the traditional TV service they signed up for. And, given they're on short-term promotions, it's far from certain they'll be sticking around. That's a short-term "solution" that makes investors feel cozy looking at the raw numbers, but it doesn't solve cable's real problem, and it doesn't somehow prove cord cutting isn't real.

And now the newest trend is forcing customers to subscribe to legacy TV if they want to avoid usage caps, which is going to continue to prop up traditional TV subscriber tallies.

To really understand shifting viewing behaviors, analysts have to look at how many customers are actually using the TV subscriptions they're signed up for. That's why traditional subscriber totals have remained static or in slight decline, but broadcast and cable ratings have been in free fall. As ESPN has painfully realized, this is also thanks to "cord trimming," or the act of reducing overall programming packages in an attempt to avoid relentless rate hikes -- more common than severing the cord completely. None of this is mythical, just a little more complicated than claiming the cord cutting is akin to yeti and unicorn.

Analysts also tend to forget to factor in the fact that traditional cable TV subscriptions are either flat or in decline as the housing market recovers and grows. In short, that means millions of new houses and apartments aren't signing up for traditional cable, something that's also left out by just looking at subscriber rolls. Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger penned a research note this week pointing out that once people are faced with re-subscribing to cable after moving, many aren't bothering. In many instances, people aren't cutting the TV cord, they're refusing to connect it in the first place. That's especially true of Millennials heading out into the wild for the first time.

Like the Boston Globe, Techcrunch also recently penned a missive declaring cord cutting a "myth," but like most other articles of this type failed to factor in the above details. It also makes a few odd logical leaps, like declaring that cord cutting isn't a thing because consumers have "their own definition of TV":
The story goes, "Cord-cutters are canceling their cable services and going over-the-top, therefore it's the demise of the television business as we know it." This premise is wrong. Here’s why: The consumer has their own definition of TV. To start, we should clarify that consumers now perceive “TV” as content, not as content delivered through a linear hardware box in their living room. HBO, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Buzzfeed — consumers don’t care about where content derives, they only care that it’s quality.
In short, Verizon-owned Techcrunch had to redefine television to try and make the point that "cord cutting" as a concept somehow isn't real. But nobody is arguing that TV as a concept will die; it will just mutate. Traditional cable operators will eventually realize they need to compete on price, and they'll ultimately adapt. Right now though, the name of the game is fiddling with subscriber TV totals to calm investors, while generating the illusion among consumers that they're competing on price and flexibility. The result is so-called "skinny bundles" that are intentionally underwhelming and saddled with post-sale charges and fees, while the cable and broadcasters happily push bi-annual rate hikes on the majority of their legacy TV customers.

So no, the traditional cable industry isn't "beating cord cutting," it's just fiddling with subscriber totals and forcing millions of customers to take TV service they may not want. And cord cutting isn't a "myth," many analysts just aren't yet seeing the full picture.

The reality is that cord cutting is a very real, but very slow phenomenon. Slow in part because many TV subscribers are intimidated by new technology, something that will shift as these services get better and easier to use (and, to be blunt, old cable users die off). It's also slow in part because broadcasters were afraid of killing the legacy cash cow and licensing their content to potential disruptors like Apple. But the flood gates are slowly opening, and 2016 and 2017 are slated to be packed with new, cheaper streaming TV options that should accelerate the trend to the point where denial will no longer be an option.

Claiming cord cutting is a manufactured fantasy certainly helps cable companies and the research firms making a living telling myopic cable executives precisely what they want to hear. And right now, what these executives want to hear is that cord cutting and cord trimming are just a small blip on the radar, easily conquered without seriously competing on price. These executives also want to be told that all of these problems will magically evaporate once Millennials start procreating. Once that happens, the theory goes, Millennials will suddenly realize that they really love traditional cable, high prices, and utterly atrocious customer service. So really, at the end of the day, who's telling myths, exactly?

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  • icon
    Chris ODonnell (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 6:50am

    Parent of two Millenials here, and I can't imagine a scenario where either one will ever subscribe to cable. My daughter didn't even have a TV in her dorm room this year.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 7:23am

      Re:

      I have three children: a twentysomething, an 18 year old, and a 12 year old.

      My children are like yours. Not a single one of them is likely to ever subscribe to cable. They don't even watch broadcast TV. Their TV viewing revolves around YouTube and, to a lesser extent, Netflix.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 7:32am

        Re: Re:

        Which is why this "but it’s hardly a revolution and there’s no sign of an accelerating trend." is going to sound so funny in a few years when the accelerating trend that doesn't exist turns into a cliff dive of less and less TV subscribers. Unless it comes bundled with the service people want (Internet), they're probably not going to entice anyone with TV offerings.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 11:11am

        Re: Re:

        I've got an interesting perspective... where I grew up, we were outside the area serviced by cable companies, so I grew up with OTA television, using various antenna combinations to pull down signals, sometimes from over a hundred miles away. Eventually cable service came to some parts of the area, and those people industriously taped the popular shows and shared them with the rest of the community. As a result, I grew up with the idea that if you wanted to watch good TV content, you went down to the Farm Market and picked up some tapes of the last months' shows to bring home and watch when you wanted.

        Sound familiar?

        When I left home, I lived in places that offered cable, but I never had any interest in subscribing unless subscription was baked into my rental agreement. In those cases, I hooked the cable up to my VHS recorder, which was the only tuner I had, and played stuff through my computer monitor. This was back in the day when you could go to a movie for $2, or $5 for recent movies, so I rarely watched any programmed content.

        My kids have now grown up without a television set in the house, and are none the worse for it. There are some streaming shows that they like to watch on an iPad from time to time, and at one point I collected a bunch of DVDs and converted them for storage on my NAS so the DVDs wouldn't get damaged, just in case I wanted to watch something on my computer.

        So I've always watched made-for-TV content, but usually a week/month/years after it was designed to air, on MY schedule. I really can't imagine not doing that. I also can't imagine my millennial kids doing that.

        And I think I'm a good example of a "proto millennial" who procreated and never felt the desire to turn to cable/programmed TV. Why do that, when I can go to the library and sign out the shows my kids want to watch, and then return them and not have Dora the Explorer videos in VHS sitting around when I no longer have kids wanting to watch the shows, nor a VHS player to play them on?

        Traditional TV had an argument for why VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray wouldn't kill it that made sense. They appear to be attempting to stretch that argument to cover streaming and digital renting/purchasing as well, and THAT makes absolutely no sense. I'm a living example of why.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 7:45am

      Re:

      My daughter didn't even have a TV in her dorm room this year.
      My first dorm room wasn't wired for cable, and after a few months I stopped caring about TV. It wasn't worth it to try to reserve the TV room, and deal with the other annoyances of watching live, especially with all the LAN filesharing.

      The next year, my dorm was wired and a neighbor had free cable by some accident, and me and a few people split off of that. But it only slightly increased my interest in having cable, given that I'd gotten used to living without it. Maybe cable companies should run free cable to all dorm rooms, so people never get used to going without it. (And networks should stop airing reruns during the Christmas and summer breaks—now, students return to a home with cable and find nothing worth watching.)

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    • identicon
      Whatever (parody), 20 May 2016 @ 8:07am

      Re:

      I make my children watch cable against their will! Cord cutting is not going to be an issue if people like me can help it!!!

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  • identicon
    Dan, 20 May 2016 @ 7:08am

    includes forced subscribers too

    I had internet only service from comcast (sigh! read i don't have another choice) at $40 a month for a year. Then the sales rep called and told me that the promotion ended and they are going to increase the rate to $60+, but if i subscribe to basic cable they will keep the same rate at $40. Haven't turned on the set top since i got it connected and i am a comcast pay tv customer. :(

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    • icon
      Jeremy Lyman (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 7:16am

      Re: includes forced subscribers too

      Yes, that was my experience on Comcast as well. They PAY YOU to remain a tv subscriber. Where's that breakout in their numbers?

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 7:27am

      Re: includes forced subscribers too

      Yep. Until recently, I was technically a cable TV subscriber because with Comcast, basic cable + internet is cheaper than internet alone.

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  • icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 7:13am

    Redefine away!

    There are so many anachronistic terms in industry analysis that they really do need to redefine a lot of them; they've just failed to do so usefully. Calling all moving picture entertainment in the home "television" doesn't fix their problem - people paying them less and competitors more. It makes investors less nervous if they don't see through the BS, but is not a solution.

    Old term = New Term
    Broadcast TV = OTA Broadcast
    Cable TV = Proprietary Broadcast
    IP TV (FIOS) = Proprietary Broadcast
    On Demand Video (from Broadcast company) = Walled Garden
    Streaming Video = User Chosen Content Content
    Cord Cutting = Broadcast Cutting

    Most people aren't cutting cords in the sense the no longer watch anything, they're opting for choice over broadcast. The concept that you have to tune in at a certain time or remember what channel a show is on, that's what's going to go away. That's what "Television" used to mean -"broadcast entertainment" as a mass transmitted one-way media consumption platform. Now television means whatever you choose to put on the big screen in your house, and broadcast companies are still bleeding subscribers and lashing out.

    So what is their solution? Offering the same broadcast content delivered by a different protocol on your computer or phone? Increase the number of broadcast channels, hoping one may match a user's interests? Offering crappy "VOD" titles packaged with the same broadcast subscription people don't want? Making their broadcast subscription integral to the Infrastructure they hold a monopoly on, or charging more to deliver competitor's content? Sure. Those will all work for a while. But they're not sustainable, it's like fighting the tide. If they're serious about competing on content, they need to compete on content and accept that they will be a part (a small part) of a customer's entertainment choices. The age of Studio/Broadcaster/Cable control is ending. The time of consumer choice has come.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 7:17am

    And now the newest trend is forcing customers to subscribe to legacy TV if they want to avoid usage caps, which is going to continue to prop up traditional TV subscriber tallies.

    What will they do when their subscriber numbers hold constant, but their Nielsen rating start falling off of the cliff, start on insisting of a minimum number of viewing hows to qualify for uncapped broadband.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward2, 20 May 2016 @ 7:20am

      Re: Minimum Viewing hours

      And other than a camera in the set top box, how do they enforce that? You could just leave the set top box on a channel for one day, and leave it unplugged the rest of the month.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 7:35am

        Re: Re: Minimum Viewing hours

        But STBs have had microphones and cameras for decades.

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      • identicon
        Anon, 20 May 2016 @ 10:29am

        Re: Re: Minimum Viewing hours

        It was I think over 20 years ago that a Nielsen analysis was published then heavily disparaged by the industry; it found that even back then, viewer numbers were illusory. The term I believe they used was that consumers were not really viewers, they treated a television as a "talking lamp" - something running in the background. About a decade ago, both myself and my wife's parents (and even her grandmother) went through the same phase, where the only worthwhile thing on live TV was the weather channel (or CNN, before Trump) and the TV would just play for hours and repeat the same stuff over and over, and we would do other things and occasionally glance at it.

        When I bought an early DVR, my VHS-addicted wife said "why do we need that?" Once it was installed and working, it became the main source of entertainment. A few years ago, the networks would offer "missed episodes" online. Then they wised up (or were told by their affiliates) and required a cable user login to view old episodes... then we couldn't watch those episodes while out of the country...

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2016 @ 9:19am

          Re: Re: Re: Minimum Viewing hours

          The term I believe they used was that consumers were not really viewers, they treated a television as a "talking lamp" - something running in the background.

          Why do you think that adverts became so loud and obnoxious, it gave then a chance of grabbing peoples attention. If the cable box is disconnected, then that tactic fails.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 11:21am

      Re:

      Why would their Nielsen ratings start falling off of the cliff? Nielsen provides ratings based on average families that actually watch TV. If they're a cable cutter, they won't be a Nielsen family.

      There are some good online documentaries and podcasts on the Nielsen rating racket; all worth viewing. It's basically a custom picked set of midwest families that decide what gets put on TV and what gets dropped. And they also define what "normal" is, even though it's a circular definition, and doesn't include anyone who doesn't have cable.

      At least Nielsen is getting a little better now and includes streaming media as well as OTA and cable media now. I think they settled a lawsuit regarding that technology recently.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 11:44am

        Re: Re:

        Why would their Nielsen ratings start falling off of the cliff?

        Because sooner or latter their sample set will include people who only subscribe to cable to get uncapped Internet access. When VOD only watchers becomes a significant part of their sample set it will show in their rating.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 12:02pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          But their sample set are specially selected "normal" people, which doesn't include VOD watchers. They have a vested interest in hiding cable cutting, and they've been shown to exercise that interest.

          So "sooner or later" becomes "when there are fewer people still watching traditional TV than Nielsen selects as their target group." It'll eventually happen, but probably not for another 10-20 years.

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  • identicon
    AL, 20 May 2016 @ 7:35am

    cord cutting in the UK

    Just as a parallel to the USA. Here in the UK I moved home 3 years ago and went from £100+/per month for Sky TV&broadband to freesat TV for £0 and £15 for BT unlimited WIFI. Not to mention £15 for mobile phone with unlimited 4G. No phone or cable installed at all

    Cable cutting? You'd better believe it

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    • identicon
      Dave, 20 May 2016 @ 11:33pm

      Re: cord cutting in the UK

      But you still have to pay for your TV licence annually, right?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2016 @ 3:25pm

        Re: Re: cord cutting in the UK

        Only (currently) if you watch "Live TV", as in, as it is broadcast (regardless of what device you watch it on, or the source).

        Soon that will change to also include "catch up TV", e.g. BBC iPlayer - but still not Netflix or similar services.

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  • icon
    GrooveNeedle (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 7:36am

    Cableism

    Maybe it's like religion. If you say it enough, and believe it enough, you can convince yourself that something, no matter how much data exists to prove it false, is true.

    All praise the mighty Cable Box, and let those tempted to stray burn in the Noise of the Evil Lord Cord Cutter.

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  • icon
    davebarnes (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 7:44am

    Would cut, but cannot figure how to

    I would drop Comcast ($130/mo) in a heartbeat if I could figure how to do it.
    We watch all the foodporn and houseporn channels + MSNBC. Don't care about any other channels.
    So, how do I do it?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 8:15am

      Re: Would cut, but cannot figure how to

      They have you locked in no matter what. If you want to watch, say - HGTV, via a Roku or some other 3rd party box, there's a little note on the channel that says "Cable (or satellite) subscription required". ***sigh***

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      • icon
        GrooveNeedle (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 8:19am

        Re: Re: Would cut, but cannot figure how to

        Hopefully that's a temporary problem.

        The exact same thing use to be true for HBO with their HBO Go, you were required to be a TV subscriber.

        These days, HBO offers HBO Now, which is it's own subscription that does not require a TV subscription. I can only hope more channels will do these and abandon the cable gatekeepers. Although, that might create a new problem, where people have 5, 10, or 20 separate subscriptions to manage.

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      • icon
        ltlw0lf (profile), 23 May 2016 @ 12:12pm

        Re: Re: Would cut, but cannot figure how to

        They have you locked in no matter what. If you want to watch, say - HGTV, via a Roku or some other 3rd party box, there's a little note on the channel that says "Cable (or satellite) subscription required". ***sigh***

        Realize it helps Dish's numbers, but Sling has HGTV and many of the other foodporn/houseporn channels as part of their default streaming plan.

        Roku handles sling just fine.

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    • icon
      Chris ODonnell (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 9:06am

      Re: Would cut, but cannot figure how to

      There is a $20 a month service called Sling advertised on my ROKU that gives you about 20 channels - kind of a basic cable, without cable. Pretty sure Food Network and HGTV were included.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 10:00am

      Re: Would cut, but cannot figure how to

      Do you really want to watch specific shows and channels, or are you more interested in watching shows that are of that genre?

      If the latter, then there is a ton of that sort of stuff available direct from content producers both on YouTube and elsewhere.

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    • icon
      Mat (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 10:56am

      Re: Would cut, but cannot figure how to

      Check to see if your local PBS has a substation named 'Create'. Same types of shows, but less commercials and free over the air...

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 11:41am

      Re: Would cut, but cannot figure how to

      You can watch HGTV and Food Network via their own websites. My wife does that, and has no problems doing so.

      As long as you have an internet connection, you've got access to not only their current episodes, but all the old ones too, on YOUR schedule, not theirs.

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 21 May 2016 @ 4:06pm

        Re: Re: Would cut, but cannot figure how to

        This is the model I see as the future of TV. Each show existing like its own "channel", with its own web presence where you can watch it, and probably (but not necessarily) also distributing through an aggregator like Hulu, YouTube, etc.

        Basically, much like a refined form of podcasting.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 8:47pm

      Re: Would cut, but cannot figure how to

      Vue, Slingbox or whatever lets you watch tv without paying more for cable.

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    • identicon
      Peter, 12 Jul 2016 @ 6:43pm

      Re: Would cut, but cannot figure how to

      There are ways to do it. I don't have time to go into the details, but I get all the food and home channels I could possibly want (they're not my cup of tea). Talk to some of the cord cutter evangelists -- they're all around you and would probably be willing to help.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 9:14am

    If 7 out of every 10 people living in Massachusetts got rid of cable, would that seem to the Boston Globe like an insignificant drop? That's roughly the net difference.

    Would it seem insignificant if every person in Washington DC, Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Delaware all got rid of their cable subscriptions in a single year? Again, that's pretty close to the difference.

    Note that these are just based on state populations. I wouldn't be surprised if you could fit some or all of those last three people in Massachusetts or maybe the entire state of Montana if just looking at people who are or could potentially be subscribers.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 9:21am

    Cord cutter here. I stopped paying for broadcast TV and will never go back. I tried SlingTV for a year after cutting the cord. It was a cheaper plan but it was the same problem: having to watch things on the TV companies time schedule and not mine. My kids are so used to watching their shows when they want it, that when they watch broadcast tv, they do not like it compared to Netflix or Amazon.

    Also, I recently found out that there are tons of "TV" apps for the Amazon Fire TV that gives free shows or continuous videos. I was looking for news channels for my dad and CBS has a 24/7 news channel for free. NBC has an app that plays news videos and will go to the next video for free. There is a large pool of content around that are free. It does take some time looking for it. I see the demise of pay TV coming very soon, maybe one generation, compared to "people can't live without pay TV". It is much like people cutting the home phone when everyone has a cellular phone.

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    • icon
      ltlw0lf (profile), 23 May 2016 @ 12:18pm

      Re:

      I tried SlingTV for a year after cutting the cord. It was a cheaper plan but it was the same problem: having to watch things on the TV companies time schedule and not mine.

      With the exception of baseball (yey for the Sling "Alternative Plan",) I rarely watch SlingTV on their schedule, since most of the channels have VOD capability. I think I've watched Game of Thrones once when it was scheduled, most of the time I go in, find what I want to watch on their VOD menus, and then move on. Even if the channel doesn't have their entire catalog available as VOD, they tend to have the programs played throughout the day, and sometimes the week, available from the menu.

      The only thing I can't do with sling is watch the baseball game on my phone...darn blackout restrictions!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 9:39am

    After Cox cable raised my Contour TV and internet to over $200 a month (without any premium channels just 2 contour boxes with whole home DVR which rarely worked well) I bought Google Nexus player boxes on sale and dropped the TV making my bill just $57 a month for internet. Cox will do nothing for you if you are long time customer even if you are willing to do a contract for a year. Now I get flooded with mails from them offering a contour tv package for $39.99 under a year contract with a free premium movie channel. Had they done that 9 months ago I'd probably still be paying for TV. I don't get their awarding of new customers with lower rates only instead of older, loyal customers who get the highest rate.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 11:53am

      Re:

      Loyal customers are going to bear the extra cost. At the point at which they no longer do, a cheaper cost will be offered for retention. Non-customers aren't loyal, and likely won't put up with those costs, and so need to be offered something cheaper to become a revenue stream.

      Cox gets paid based on the number of eyeballs they've got watching ads; adding new eyeballs for cheap is a net gain.

      It's that simple.

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  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 12:16pm

    The boiling frog analogy

    I'm sure people have heard this before, but it's the boiling frog analogy: as the water slowly heats, the frog gets used to it, then all of sudden, it boils to death and it wonders what happened.

    So, sure, a loss of 5 million subscribers over a few years isn't too bad. And another 10 million next year still isn't too bad. And another 10 million after that isn't too bad.
    But, wait, that's now 25 million out of 100 million or 25% of the total. Is that still considered not too bad?

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  • icon
    got_runs? (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 4:25pm

    Too many damn commercials. With pay tv you're literally paying for commercials.

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  • icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 5:01pm

    Here is a set of statistics I would love to see,

    1) how many people subscribe to cable TV.
    2) how many of the above people actually have cable boxes.
    3) how many of them watch any TV during the month.

    That would give you a clearer picture of what is actually happening cord cutting wise.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 5:31pm

      Re:

      Yeah, I imagine if you removed those that only 'subscribe to cable tv' because it's part of their internet package from the numbers they would look a lot different, and they'd be really hard pressed to brush the numbers aside as not that big a deal.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 8:32pm

    Long live non cable affiliated streaming video services. Try as they might, that genie's never going back in the bottle.

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

  • identicon
    Pat, 22 May 2016 @ 11:41am

    Shaved my cord

    Back in February, I shaved my cord to where I only get local channels and their digital subchannels like MeTV, Antenna TV, Movies! Laff and Grit (I mostly watched those channels). Since I live too far away from transmitter towers, I still need cable for local channels. I managed to drop the TV portion of my bill from $100 to $22, and if there is something on cable I want to watch, which is mainly sports and old movies, I just use a family member's passkey to watch it on a cable app. However, aside from sports and old movies, it is rare when I do that. For my news, I can just watch Sky, France 24, NHK or DW through my PS4 (I stopped watching U.S. cable news 3 years ago since it was just agenda laden). There are also PBS subchannels like Create and World. For me, the price of cable television outweighs the entertainment value and just not worth it anymore.

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

  • identicon
    Mike Angelo, 27 May 2016 @ 5:51pm

    Cord Cutting Is Not A 'Myth'

    Substituting cable service for a streaming service is not exactly "cutting the cord".

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


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