from the if-I-buy-ALL-the-things-I-have-less-money...news-at-11 dept
So we've noted a few times now how every month or so there's a media report proclaiming that you can't save any money via cord cutting. The logic in these reports almost always goes something like this: "Once I got done signing up for every damn streaming video service under the sun, I found that I wasn't really saving much money over traditional cable."
Authors leaning on this lazy take almost always tend to forget a few things. One, the same people dictating cable TV rates dictate streaming video rates. Two, adding a dozen streaming services to exactly match your bloated, 300 channel cable subscription misses the entire point of cord cutting. The benefit of streaming is you can pick and choose the content you prefer. And yes, if you prefer a massive bundle of religious programming, horrible reality television, and infomercials, then yes -- you may want to stick to paying an arm and a leg for cable.
Just like clockwork, USAToday rushed to meet this month's invisible quota for "cord cutting doesn't save me money" stories. In their version, the author desperately tries to include the cost of broadband service just to try and make an inaccurate point:
"Sure, if we only pared ourselves down to free TV with an antenna and Netflix, then we’d be in great shape, at $10 a month.
I would argue that we'd also have to add in the high-speed Internet charge to watch the stuff, and that would add another $40-$50.
(Serious cord-cutters disagree with me on this—they say we'd all be paying for the Internet anyway, and the charge shouldn't be counted.)
Yeah, they're telling you that because they're right. Your broadband connection would be a cost whether you cut the cord or not. Now, ISPs use usage caps to exempt their own content while driving up the cost of using streaming services, but that would be the fault of cable companies (and a lack of competition in the broadband sector) -- not the fault of cord cutting or streaming services. In fact: how a lack of broadband competition allows this abuse of the last mile is actually a more worthy story for this type of -- regurgitation and repetition.
Undaunted, the USAToday author continues:
"In a debate Thursday on Facebook Live, Luke Bouma, the owner of Cordcutternews.com, argued that the average person who ditched their cable was saving $100 monthly on their bill. I don't disagree. But looking into the future, my point is, if you add many new streaming services, your bill could get just as high as cable.
On the entertainment front, is Netflix really enough? With Hulu, you get access to the latest network TV shows from NBC, ABC and Fox, for $12 monthly, without commercials. And many of us love the idea of HBO Now on-demand, with access to the entire library of HBO shows, from the Sopranos to Games of Thrones.
Add another $15 monthly for HBO.
So now we’re just at $90 a month. Which is about on par with what we currently pay for cable."
So yes, when you buy all the toys in the store window things do tend to get expensive. But when you actually bother to talk to real people you'll find that time and time again they'll tell you that cord cutting saved them considerable money from the $130 or so (more depending on fees and packages) most people pay for traditional cable. If their bill gets too high, cord cutters can always trim back a service or buy a service elsewhere (AT&T sells HBO streaming as part of DirecTV Now for $5). There's also piracy, which for some reason writers at major outlets like to refuse to admit is an option because it's naughty.
This kind of competition and choice flexibility puts the onus on you to find -- and get -- the better deal. That this kind of flexibility on price and options has long been lacking from traditional cable is the entire damn point. If you're missing that, you're not really understanding the cord cutting phenomenon at all.