New Year’s Resolution: Cutting the Cord
It’s January 2nd and I have completed one of my New Year’s resolutions! I have joined the 22 million other people that disconnected from Cable and Satellite TV in 2017.
Why I Cut the Cable TV Cord TV
Our household is in west Omaha, which has the option of two cable / Internet providers: Cox and CenturyLink along with two Satellite services.
I had been a CenturyLink subscriber for years under several business names: Telechoice, Qwest, and CenturyLink. In 2015, I switched to Cox to lower my monthly costs after CenturyLink went crazy and continued to raise the monthly fee. Cox offered a 2-year program where my average monthly cost would be around $125 per month (1st year $115 and 2nd year $135).
This past October, I called Cox support, as my 2-year program was coming to an end. I wanted to find out what, if any, price change might take place. I was assured by the COX CSR that my bill would remain the same, around $133-134 a month.
Imagine my surprise when my monthly statement rose another $35 a month! That set the wheels in motion to review options.
I looked at CenturyLink again, still too expensive. Satellite, OK for the first couple of years, but to get the few channels we wanted, it was still about as pricey as staying with COX.
Streaming as an alternative
My two millennial sons have been streaming for years and subscribing to Internet service. So, I considered streaming options, the four I considered:
- YouTube TV
- DirectTV Now
There are probably others as well. I tested Sling TV and DirectTV Now, for a week FREE. What may be humorous is that both of these services are offered by Dish TV and Direct TV satellite TV providers.
One of the things that seemed attractive to all the streaming options, is the flexibility to pick the package that suits your viewing habits. These services stream over the Internet and can be added to various devices like Roku or Amazon Fire TV, watch via Smart TVs or even on a Smartphone, computer, or tablet. They also are non-contract, so I can switch to other options whenever.
I selected Amazon FireTV and DirectTV Now, as the options that best serves mine and my wife’s needs. I returned to CenturyLink for Internet only service with a “Price for life” guarantee. I get a lot of over the air broadcast TV and still have a Windows 7 Box with an HD Tuner card to record those network shows, I do watch. DirectTV Now is testing a DVR service, like Sling TV or YouTube TV, which may or may not be an option when it becomes available.
My total for Internet, streaming TV, Amazon Prime and Netflix is under $120 a month. Basically, dropping COX I am saving $70 a month or returning my basic Internet and TV to under $100 a month. That I can live with for now.
What the Cable Companies Just Don’t Get
Cord Cutting has accelerated since I have started my Digital Marketing business in 2010. Annually, there were less than a million-people cutting the cord. In 2017, it was estimated that 22 million people cut the cord, up 33.2% from 2016. By 2021, the number of people that have pay TV services will drop to 181.7 million people. This represents a 10% decline from the 2016, according to the September 13, 2017 Variety article, “Cord Cutting Explodes.”
So why don’t the cable companies get it? People, especially the younger demographics, are not interested in paying ever increasing costs for entertainment and news? They prefer to stream, view over the air, and browse the Internet.
The flexibility to pick and choose what channels you might like to watch, if you want linear TV, or entertainment offered through Netflix or Amazon Prime, is the trend. Yet cable companies are like dinosaurs that continue to offer the same things and charge more and more.
Cord Cutting Impacts
Cord Cutting certainly has a negative impact to the bottom-line to pay TV services. I ask, “what part of a ‘lifetime value of a customer’ these services just don’t get?”
Another related impact will be local governments with reduced tax revenue on cable services.
Forbes reported in a September 13, 2017 article, “TV Ad Spend Stops as Cord-Cutting in the U.S. Accelerates” how fast TV ad spending is dropping. Those ad dollars are more than likely moving to digital platforms.
So Long Pay TV
I really don’t care to talk to my remote to find something to watch. I don’t want to package a legacy landline phone with service. I care little to add other services to my news and entertainment viewing.
Typically, when I called to cancel, I had to listen to a sales pitch for other options, which were still more than what I had been paying. \I just told them it was too late, and I did not care to buy services from an unethical company.
The final straw was when I was told that my bill for the month of service would not be prorated to about the 50% of the month I had left.
Competition drives innovation and keeps pricing in line. This is certainly something pay TV services have forgotten, except for Dish and Direct TV that have both moved into streaming services.
So long COX, it was nice knowing you. Hello, streaming TV.