Cord cutting on the cheap!

lparsons21

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Many of these cord-cutting hopefuls (like Lloyd and mwdxer1) haven't cut the cord yet. Yet others may be reeled back in by attractive winback offers.

Others may switch to another conventional provider after they've left the familiar mess that is their old provider.

It is hard to assess where everyone is at any one time and that's the danger of buying in to heavily on any of the reports (even those from otherwise reputable sources -- not that the Motley Fool is the acknowledged seer of pay TV trends). It is also folly to ignore the part that inertia plays in decisions such as these. There are often plateaus in paradigm shifts where the wave loses energy and the tide ebbs.
I’m cancelling the TV portion of my cable tomorrow. Had planned on doing it today but things got in the way. I haven’t actually watched anything on cable for almost a month.

While stories about cord cutting have been interesting, what they mostly did for me was remind me just how much actual cable tv watching I was doing. I watch a substantial amount of daytime TV and had pretty much gone all streaming for that a few months back since anything on during the day of even the slightest interest I had already seen multiple times and the rest was just dreck to me.

When I call Mediacom tomorrow I fully expect them to make a pitch for keeping cable TV, but I don’t expect it to be much of a deal. After I cancel if something changes or streaming loses its allure after some time, might go back.

As it is, all streaming saves me a fair bit of money and since I’m a bit on the geek side, using different apps is pretty much 2nd nature. And since I’m single I don’t have to consider what others might think of the idea.

About the only thing that isn’t quite rock solid is just which way I’ll end up jumping to, both approaches I’m considering have their good and bad, neither are perfect. But then again, neither was cable/sat.
 

Bilbo1

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It is hard to assess where everyone is at any one time... It is also folly to ignore the part that inertia plays in decisions such as these. There are often plateaus in paradigm shifts where the wave loses energy and the tide ebbs.
Yes and no.

We can pretty much assess what people want, access to content wherever, whenever they want it. The industry has been moving that way for a decade or so now, with things like authentication and apps. Those still require having a provider... Cable, sat, or streaming replacement, at least FOR NOW.

We are seeing movement towards streaming-only content providers like Hulu, Netflix, Disney+ and CBS All Access. These providers offer access to a wide range of content that was previously available through cable/sat at lower cost, much of the content covers most is scripted TV shows. These are replacing the cable/Sat provider above.

OK, inertia is a thing, but the waves, ebbs and flows are more like oscillations as a solution is being converged upon.


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harshness

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We can pretty much assess what people want, access to content wherever, whenever they want it.
I think you missed the relatively important part about the content that viewers want. I can buy the whenever part, but not the wherever. Does anyone really need to watch TV outside their home?
We are seeing movement towards streaming-only content providers like Hulu, Netflix, Disney+ and CBS All Access.
That is perhaps because that is where the content has gone. When they lose the content, subscribers will likely lose interest. Substituting similar content doesn't work very often as it lacks the familiarity inherent in a long-running series that you've invested in. None of these services alone likely offers all the content anyone would need and I'm dubious that they could fulfill the need in combination.

I've subscribed to Netflix and CBS All Access and I don't think I could sustain either for more than a couple months at a time. Hulu is perhaps more enduring with its network content. From what I can tell from their current offerings, I suspect Disney wouldn't last me two months. I know that what I want to watch isn't the same as what others want to watch and I'm fine with that but I expect that there are others who have similar tastes.
 

lparsons21

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I think you missed the relatively important part about the content that viewers want. I can buy the whenever part, but not the wherever. Does anyone really need to watch TV outside their home?
Need? Probably not, want to? Sure, I see it every time my family gets together. Something will be on the TV and some are not watching that, but watching something else on their phone or tablet. Pretty common among the younger folks these days.
 

lparsons21

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That is perhaps because that is where the content has gone. When they lose the content, subscribers will likely lose interest. Substituting similar content doesn't work very often as it lacks the familiarity inherent in a long-running series that you've invested in. None of these services alone likely offers all the content anyone would need and I'm dubious that they could fulfill the need in combination.

I've subscribed to Netflix and CBS All Access and I don't think I could sustain either for more than a couple months at a time. Hulu is perhaps more enduring with its network content. From what I can tell from their current offerings, I suspect Disney wouldn't last me two months. I know that what I want to watch isn't the same as what others want to watch and I'm fine with that but I expect that there are others who have similar tastes.
It all depends on what you want to watch and how you want to watch it. Simplest is still using a cable/sat box because it is all there with a consistent UI and it is what we are used to. From there, there are all sorts of ways to skin the cat depending on what you want to watch. Sports being the biggest hole in the streaming world at the moment.

Otherwise you can sub to ATT TV, YTTV, Hulu+Live or other offerings that are there to simply replace the cable/sat box but with skinnier bundles at lower prices than the cable/sat companies can do or are willing to do.

And for those willing to be a little more inconvenienced, you can use a few cheaper, smaller services and use different apps to get the content you want.

While us older folks might be intimidated by the methodology of the streaming world, the younger folks certainly are not, hence the decline of cable/sat subscriptions going forward. The content providers are not targeting us older folks, they are targeting the ones coming up behind us.
 
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Bilbo1

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I can buy the whenever part, but not the wherever. Does anyone really need to watch TV outside their home?
Ever been on a long road trip with kids? Flown recently? There are a number of people with shows downloaded onto their iPad.

I've sat in a sports bar watching my Alma mater play on the house TVs while another game I was interested in streamed on my phone. Once, I forgot my dinosaur and was grateful that the sports bar kept it safe until my next visit. I've also streamed an NFL game on my phone in a wine bar without a TV.

I was recently in hotel that allowed you to cast a streamed show from your phone (connected to house wifi) to the TV in my room. Pairing Codes

So, no, I don't think people want to stream outside their home

That is perhaps because that is where the content has gone.
Maybe because that's where the demand for it is?

Substituting similar content doesn't work very often as it lacks the familiarity inherent in a long-running series that you've invested in.
Don't networks do this every year with a significant percentage of their shows?

None of these services alone likely offers all the content anyone would need and I'm dubious that they could fulfill the need in combination.
I'm not sure yet. Pandora, Spotify, and Apple Music each offer a large library with lots of overlap. Time will tell on this point. But, I suspect there will be compartmentalization of content, leading to a need for multiple services, with people swapping out services like you suggest below:

I've subscribed to Netflix and CBS All Access and I don't think I could sustain either for more than a couple months at a time. Hulu is perhaps more enduring with its network content. From what I can tell from their current offerings, I suspect Disney wouldn't last me two months. I know that what I want to watch isn't the same as what others want to watch and I'm fine with that but I expect that there are others who have similar tastes.

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theBruce

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Yet others may be reeled back in by attractive winback offers.
And yet the Cable/Sat. Providers are no longer offering winback offers, there has been plenty of News Stories about it, if they cannot make a profit with you on their TV service they no longer want you as a subscriber, Comcast (for example) is just happy having you as a Broadband only customer.

Others may switch to another conventional provider after they've left the familiar mess that is their old provider.
If people are just switching to another conventional provider the numbers are not showing it since everyone had major losses this year (AT&T the worse), also the majority usually has only one provider ( Comcast on my side of a lake, Charter on the other in the same town), so it is either Comcast or the Sat. Providers and we know Dish and DirecTV are not going up in subscription numbers.

It is hard to assess where everyone is at any one time and that's the danger of buying in to heavily on any of the reports (even those from otherwise reputable sources -- not that the Motley Fool is the acknowledged seer of pay TV trends). It is also folly to ignore the part that inertia plays in decisions such as these. There are often plateaus in paradigm shifts where the wave loses energy and the tide ebbs.
There is not one piece of evidence in sub. numbers, news stories, etc. that this trend away from Traditional Service is going to let up, it increased from 2.87 million loss in 2018 to over 7 million in 2019, that is one heck of a wave that is continuing to build.




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Zookster

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I think the last line of the Motley Fool article I linked summed it up pretty well.

Cable won't disappear anytime soon, thanks to older customers' preference for sticking with the familiar. Over the long term, however, it's likely that the industry will become a shell of its former self.
 

harshness

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Maybe because that's where the demand for it is?
No, releasing shows on only the home system is relatively new technique to get people to buy into the content owner's streaming service rather than through conventional distribution outlets. Netflix has been at it for a while and Amazon has had their home grown stuff too but now we're seeing a lot more players trying to get into the act -- and taking some content away from Netflix or Amazon in the process.
Don't networks do this every year with a significant percentage of their shows?
Not that I can recall. They may have a second season of reruns but they don't typically replace one show with a nearly identical show. If it works, they just make new episodes.
I'm not sure yet. Pandora, Spotify, and Apple Music each offer a large library with lots of overlap.
Music doesn't require a personal investment in following its context and if you don't like it, you only have to skip it or wait a few minutes until it is over so I dismiss your argument.
 

harshness

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I think the last line of the Motley Fool article I linked summed it up pretty well.

Cable won't disappear anytime soon, thanks to older customers' preference for sticking with the familiar. Over the long term, however, it's likely that the industry will become a shell of its former self.
That's hardly indicative of a firestorm of change.
 

lparsons21

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No, releasing shows on only the home system is relatively new technique to get people to buy into the content owner's streaming service rather than through conventional distribution outlets. Netflix has been at it for a while and Amazon has had their home grown stuff too but now we're seeing a lot more players trying to get into the act -- and taking some content away from Netflix or Amazon in the process.
CBS is already doing it, ATT has announced HBOMax and Comcast has Peacock coming. All to monetize their content as cable/sat subscriptions die off. All of them offering their broadcast/cable content plus some originals that won’t show up on cable/sat. They see where the market is going.

There’s also a plethora of free ad-supported streaming services that seem to be doing pretty well at monetizing content also.

So the money and effort is going into streaming, not into cable/sat. ATT’s satellite service probably won’t see a new box for the home, most likely Dish won’t either and I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the cable companies to come out with new boxes either. And it is all because they see their corporate future in streaming but for some reason you don’t. Interesting...
 
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Zookster

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That's hardly indicative of a firestorm of change.
The rest of the article was clearly indicative of a firestorm of change, based on actual data. I only highlighted this last sentence as a concession that traditional TV formats will likely persist in some form as long as the older generation of holdouts (who can afford it) are still alive and kicking.
 

Marcingak

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And yet the Cable/Sat. Providers are no longer offering winback offers, there has been plenty of News Stories about it, if they cannot make a profit with you on their TV service they no longer want you as a subscriber, Comcast (for example) is just happy having you as a Broadband only customer.
I still get mail from DirecTV about once a month begging me to come back.
 

theBruce

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I still get mail from DirecTV about once a month begging me to come back.
I do also but the prices are the same as the new customer pricing, nothing like before when providers would give a extra $20 or so off a month for coming back or staying after threatening to cancel.


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Bilbo1

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No, releasing shows on only the home system is relatively new technique to get people to buy into the content owner's streaming service rather than through conventional distribution outlets. Netflix has been at it for a while and Amazon has had their home grown stuff too but now we're seeing a lot more players trying to get into the act -- and taking some content away from Netflix or Amazon in the process.
I missed the point here. They're trying to, maybe succeeding at, creating a market. The jury is still out on whether this will work or not. But, all of the players like Disney, NBC/Comcast, and CBS have large war chests, and the downside is not being bold enough. I'm not sure how many studio+streamers the market can support, but the streaming part is cheap.

They may have a second season of reruns but they don't typically replace one show with a nearly identical show. If it works, they just make new episodes.
Annually, the OTA networks replace something like 30-50% of their prime-time content. Very few shows last more than 2 or 3 season. Many only go a few episodes before being replaced.


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Zookster

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I still get mail from DirecTV about once a month begging me to come back.
I do also but the prices are the same as the new customer pricing, nothing like before when providers would give a extra $20 or so off a month for coming back or staying after threatening to cancel.


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It just occurred to me that Cox cable is no longer sending me offers in the mail with the new customer deals for cable TV. Just internet upgrade offers. But even when they were, the new customer deal started at $45, before at least another $30-$40 in various fees I would have to pay to get something close to what I had before and currently get with YTTV in terms of access to all my DVR content in every room of my house.
 

theBruce

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It just occurred to me that Cox cable is no longer sending me offers in the mail with the new customer deals for cable TV. Just internet upgrade offers. But even when they were, the new customer deal started at $45, before at least another $30-$40 in various fees I would have to pay to get something close to what I had before and currently get with YTTV in terms of access to all my DVR content in every room of my house.
If I ever go back to a Live TV service it would be YTTV, not just because it is cheaper then Comcast, but it is such a superior service both in Picture, ease and the almost limitless DVR.

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harshness

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Need? Probably not, want to? Sure, I see it every time my family gets together. Something will be on the TV and some are not watching that, but watching something else on their phone or tablet. Pretty common among the younger folks these days.
I lament this situation. What's the point of getting together if the members who are perhaps the most interesting are mostly doing their own thing.
 

harshness

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I do also but the prices are the same as the new customer pricing, nothing like before when providers would give a extra $20 or so off a month for coming back or staying after threatening to cancel.
In the case of DIRECTV, the new customer pricing is up to $71/month off of long-term prices (Choice package @ $59.99 versus $131) so for a service with an ARPU of nearly $120 (just $5 over the Entertainment package "all in" ), that's a tasty come-on.

As an aside, I find it interesting that DIRECTV is going after the high-value customers yet their ARPU suggests that most of their customer must be at the low-to-midlands range.
 

harshness

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I missed the point here. They're trying to, maybe succeeding at, creating a market.
They're not creating a market as much as using monopoly powers to shift how viewers shop.
Annually, the OTA networks replace something like 30-50% of their prime-time content. Very few shows last more than 2 or 3 season. Many only go a few episodes before being replaced.
There are a lot of stinkers in there but there are also quite a few enduring series. Then there are the series that go shopping for greener grass on other services because the networks failed to make the best of what they had (Lucifer and Longmire were two that I enjoyed).
 

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