It seems that more and more of us have decided that “cord cutting” is the way to live our lives in the 2010’s. And actually, it’s not a bad idea. “Cord cutting”, for the uninitiated, is getting rid of your cable or satellite company and using the internet for the source of your television viewing.
It’s going there anyway…as I’ve pointed out countless times. And it seems to be accelerating.
The second quarter results have been released by the Leichtman Research Group, who measures these sorts of things. In the 2nd quarter, there were about 1.53 million cord-cutters…people that cancelled their cable or satellite TV. That compares with 420,000 who quit traditional TV services in 2018.
Companies such as Comcast, Cox, and Charter actually did better because they offer internet subscriptions along with cable. It was companies like DirecTV and Dish that suffered the most. DirecTV lost 778,000 subscribers, about half the the overall total, and Dish did relatively well with their best quarter in a LONG while, losing only 79,000 people!
The reason for the decline is clear. When the average cable bill is over $105 a month, you can basically get the same viewing for around $15 a month by going to places like CBS All Access ($6/month with an annual subscription), and Hulu (with commercials) for about $6 a month. If you happen to be an Amazon Prime member, you have movies and several TV shows at your disposal on the Amazon Video channel (though you have to be careful…there ARE some pay-TV options on the same site!)
A lot of the internet streaming companies are starting to offer the “live channels” for upwards of $50-$60 a month. Of course, it’s a lot cheaper to go with an off the air antenna, which you can pick up for a few bucks. That will give you upwards of 80 local channels for free!
And all of this is falling into the hands of exactly what I’ve preached here for years. TV is dying as we know it. Radio is dying as we know it. Streaming is going to be the next wave of the future, in fact, it’s already here. On a recent trip around the country, where we traveled to 18 states in about three weeks, I was able to listen to my old radio station every single day, regardless where I was. I could stream it right on my cell phone and bluetooth it into the car’s audio system. It was like I was listening to the Toledo station, even though I was a thousand miles away! And watching TV has changed as well.
One of the things we used to do was clamor around the TV at 8pm on a Thursday night, say, for a special program we wanted to watch. Now, we wait and when we have the time, we stream it. It’s on our schedule, not the networks. And if we want to watch three or four episodes of a show all at once, we can do that. My wife found “Dark Shadows” on one of the streaming channels. She must have watched five episodes a day for months (it was on five days a week back in the 70’s and 80’s).
Sorry to say that if you’re a subscriber to cable TV, you are throwing literally thousands of dollars out the window each and every year. Same goes for satellite. Those companies are antiquated. And while you may want to subscribe to a cable company’s internet feed, that’s about all they’re good for in this day and age!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!