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Summary:

The pay TV industry shed at least 193,000 subscribers last quarter, based on public earnings results. While most were low-end subscribers that didn’t pay for HD, DVR or other value-added services, the industry faces a tipping point if it keeps focusing on ARPU above all else.

no tv

With Cablevision reporting a loss of 23,000 subscribers and Dish Network shedding 135,000 in the second quarter, the U.S. pay TV industry has lost nearly 200,000 subscribers in the second-quarter — and those are just the ones we know about. But if there was a lack of concern about cord cutters on second-quarter earnings calls, it’s not because operators were unaware of the losses; it’s because in most cases, they didn’t want those subscribers anyway.

As seen in the chart below, public pay-TV providers collectively shed 193,000 subscribers in the most recent quarter. While losses by cable providers are nothing new, they are usually offset by stronger growth in satellite and IPTV providers picking up the slack. That didn’t happen this quarter, as somewhat weak growth by IPTV providers and a big loss at Dish highlighted what seems to be an exodus of pay TV subscribers amidst a weak economy.

Company 2Q Video Net Adds/Losses
Comcast -238,000
Time Warner Cable -130,000
Charter -79,000
Cablevision -23,000
Dish Network -135,000
DirecTV 26,000
AT&T 202,000
Verizon 184,000
Total -193,000

When the numbers actually shake out, things are likely to be even worse than this. Keep in mind that these are just the top eight public pay TV providers, and most of those above operate in metropolitan markets. There’s a number of Tier 2 and Tier 3 providers not in this list, and many of those are in rural or underserved areas where the down economy has hit even harder.

Is competition really the cause?

On most of the earnings calls we sat in on over the past several weeks, there seemed to be a common refrain: Cable and satellite providers were losing subscribers in part due to increased competition and deals from the telco providers — Verizon and AT&T — who are aggressively buying share with steep upfront discounts.

But a look at the actual numbers doesn’t seem to bear that out. AT&T added 202,000 video subscribers in the second quarter, while Verizon added 184,000 in the same period. The addition of about 386,000 video subscribers combined is not out of line with previous quarters, and in fact is actually a little low compared to the 410,000 the telcos signed up in the first quarter or the 440,000 they added in the fourth quarter.

Will the real cord cutters please stand up?

If those pay TV subscribers aren’t actually going to competitors, where are they going? Most likely they’ve actually become cord cutters — two words that we didn’t hear much of on those earnings calls. In part, that’s because the rhetoric around cord cutters as anti-establishment, online video-watching rebels has largely been dispelled.

Studies have found those going without cable aren’t doing so because of over-the-top streaming offerings. Instead, those who are choosing to go without cable are doing so because they either don’t see much value in pay TV packages, can’t afford to keep paying for TV, or some combination of the two.

Operators acknowledge that the few video subscribers who have left the pay TV ecosystem so far have most commonly been on the bottom end of the cable value chain — that is, generally low-income users that just paid for TV and didn’t subscribe to broadband, HD or other higher-value services. And for most operators, that’s ok because they weren’t very high-margin customers anyway.

The myth of the higher-value customer

Cable providers are increasingly seeking ways to get more money out of their existing subscriber base. As a result, we’ve seen steady increases in average revenue per user (ARPU) as users sign up for more HD, more premium channels, more DVR set-top boxes throughout the home. That’s the reason Comcast’s ARPU stands at about $140, when basic cable service starts at about $39 based on some introductory offers.

On the other side, operators are increasingly shying away from customers who might not want to pay for the premium cable package, multiple DVRs and other bells and whistles. DirecTV and Dish Network both run credit scores of potential subscribers to weed out those who might turn out to be flakes and cancel after an introductory deal is over. The goal — to get customers signed up for as many value-added services as possible — is not just about driving up revenues, but about making those services sticky and increasing customer lock-in.

The problem is that in a world where all the cable operators are trying to sell ever-more expensive packages of services, there’s a sad truth of business they’re running up against, and it’s that not everyone is a luxury car buyer. That is, not everyone is in the market for the biggest and best. But in the cable world, there’s very little choice if all you want is a Kia.

Will cable reach a tipping point?

It’s not enough to blame the weak economy when things get rough and folks stop paying for cable; there’s also a structural problem with the way the industry views its subscribers. In the quest for higher margins and customer retention, those companies are generally willing to sacrifice subscribers at the low end if it means they can get more out of their so-called higher-value customers.

The question is how long the industry can keep pushing ARPU up before it starts to shed some of its better customers — those that aren’t necessarily poor, but don’t have $150 or more a month to spend on entertainment. There’s the old belief that TV is recession-proof, as consumers hunker down and spend more time at home rather than going out when their disposable income gets low. But at some point, the value proposition has to break down — especially when there are other ways to get low-cost video entertainment from services like Netflix or Hulu.

No TV image courtesy of Flickr user Mykl Roventine.

  1. Dropped cable, getting free over-the-air digital programming

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    1. this is exactly why i dropped my cable too, I live in the Toronto area, where I get local HD channels as well as those from Buffalo and Rochester, for a $35 directional antenna.

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    2. I did the same. Here in San Diego I get all the major networks including Fox. The main trade-off is live sports. I’ve found some work arounds online but they can be a moving target.
      http://cordcutterguide.com/

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  2. Dennis Crowley Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    >> Operators acknowledge that the few video subscribers who have left the pay TV ecosystem so far have most commonly been on the bottom end of the cable value chain — that is, generally low-income users that just paid for TV and didn’t subscribe to broadband, HD or other higher-value services.

    Seeing exactly the opposite in certain circles in NYC. High value customers (paying $140+) month trading in their cable box for a MacMini with Boxee/Hulu/EyeTV/etc.

    The most interesting group tho is college students… kids who leave their parents house and never get a TV / never order cable for their dorm rooms, go a few years without cable and then become Cord Cutters after they graduate. I’d love to see a chart of cable subscribers by age (18-25) over the past 36 months.

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    1. That’s exactly what I did during undergrad, continued during grad school and then said what the heck after leaving. All I need is my 4G connection, Hulu & some other streaming sites and I’m good

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      1. Ditto. Dropped cable tv back in 2009, kept cable internet, bought a MacMini with an eyeTV USB HD tuner and a $35 antenna. Went to install that in the attic and discovered I already had an antenna up there from years gone by (previous owner). Macs have optical outputs in their headphone jacks so I ran that to the surround-sound AV receiver and get all the 5.1 goodness in my DVDs and some broadcasts. And I can websurf, play games, Hulu, youtube etc. Really has worked out well.

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    2. Dennis – Thanks for the comment. It’s true, I think the real problem isn’t with the cyclical nature of the economic downturn and people leaving cable just because it’s getting too expensive to justify… There’s a whole class of users — the so-called “cord nevers” — who up until now haven’t paid for cable and seem unlikely to do so in the future. I haven’t really seen a good substantial study of this group (18-25 year olds) and how they consume TV/pay TV yet, however.

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    3. I concur, and I’d love to see that chart!

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  3. George Creedle Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Exactly what I did. Nice income, but hated the DVR, channel interface and customer non-service from TWC; slowly moved to OTA digital recordings on EyeTV, Podcasts from both networks and independent producers, Hulu and Netflix. I have more programming that I could ever hope to watch. Goodbye cable cabal.

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  4. Am I alone or has anyone else noticed the following: 1 – high percentage of Cable-TV networks transmitting programs with aspect ratio smaller than the size of subscriber’s digital TV screen (non-High Definition); 2- provider(s) playing a passive role by not reformatting any of such programming to fit subscriber’s TV screen nor requiring the networks to reformat such programs to fit the TV screen; 3- providers discriminating by furnishing HD-TV subscribers with settings option that enables them to change at will the aspect ratio of any given program to better fit their TV screen but not making such feature available to any other subscribers who do not have HD-TV equipment; 4- providers not coming clean with subscribers as to what has actually been transpiring to diminish TV experience of non-HD-TV subscribers; and finally 5-oddly enough the vast majority of networks transmitting programming with the wrong aspect ratios at the same time are transmitting advertising with aspect ratios that perfectly fit the entire TV screen of non-HD subscribers. It appears to me that these complaints/observations are consistent with the astute premise of your well-written article that networks and providers are targeting higher-end subscribers as for example those with HD-TV. I have complained to my provider and now have on the books a confirmed scheduled appointment for a technician to follow-up at my apartment in less than two days from now, but truth be told I have already spoken with 3 cable-TV provider’s field technicians on the street during the past 24 hours and their comments and explanations have more or less convinced me the entire matter will not get resolved to my satisfaction. These same providers are those also offering Internet connections and as such have been engaged in other practices of a less than honest nature that merit being formally investigated. I will be pleased to provide your organization with full details and under oath will swear to same as being the full truth. Fred Diener, New York City

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  5. You should also consider the new value people see in free OTA HD. Every TV you buy comes with a tuner and an Internet connection these days. we actually get a better picture on core channels than with Comcast. Cutting the cord is less about money than you may think.

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  6. Cable is absolutely the most expensive entertainment you can buy. You are forced to receive 200 channels, even if you only watch 10 channels. You pay $50-125 a month for mostly junk you don’t watch. But now the cable monopolies are starting to see a shift away from the cable TV garbage and they are ratcheting up the price of broadband where it’s now more expensive than a cable package. That’s the case with Time Warner. Cable TV and broadband are being priced out for many families and the absurdly high expense of broadband will impact America’s ability to compete with the rest of the world which have much less expensive and quicker broadband.

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    1. Well said. The reason I am about to ditch a TV subscription (Dish) service is that is is not value at all. For $60 a month, I get a bunch of channels, of which only 2-3 are worth watching for me. I wouldn’t mind paying as much as $5-10 for each of those if I could get them individually.

      The fact is most people are waking up and seeing alternatives to the “fake choices” thrown up by bundled channels, and will continue to drop cable and satellite, in favor of pay as you go services.

      This article is from the industry perspective, but fails to ask the basic questions about what customers are looking for. At least people like me want content at a reasonable price, before we even think about all the “value added services” like DVR etc.

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    2. @Mike – I’m sure someone will come along from the cable industry and make the case that it’s still “an incredible value” based on the number of programming hours available. Bundles are great when they make sense from a value/price perspective. I guess the question is, is cable still valuable enough to justify the price increases?

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  7. Black Belt Auntie Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    It is their own fault. I recently cancelled cable TV – they constantly raise their prices without any advance notice, and they try to sneak extra charges in every month. If you are not vigilant, they will charge you for movies you never watched, services you don’t actually have, and surcharges they have invented that do not correspond to any actual product or value. They are rude to their customers, as though we are an annoyance to them. On top of which, the number of commercials per hour is purely ridiculous. I am not going to pay to watch commercials. If companies want me to see their products, they can pay me for my time. That entire model of advertising is out of control – and I refuse to participate in it any longer.

    When I want to watch a movie, I rent it. There is almost nothing on TV that is worth wasting the limited minutes of my life to see, and I can get the news free on the Internet. There are great browser plug-ins to block the ads so I don’t have to be bothered with advertisers who don’t understand that my time is too valuable to waste on their commercials.

    The cable companies are following the same path that their entertainment peers chose – they didn’t learn a single thing from watching the complete overturn of the music and video rental industries. Now it’s cable’s turn. Bye-bye cable companies, you blew it.

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    1. Bravo!
      Cable companies “double dip”. They charge us, the consumer and they charge the advertisers as well. While I hated to pay to watch commercials, useless stations and micro-manage my bill; that is not what prompted me cut drop my service.
      It was the way companies treated me!
      Every one I had ever used eventually got me so angry I would cancel my service. Comcast, Direct TV and now Dish Network all tried to add false charges to my bill and then treat me like “I: was the crook when I called them on it.
      I there defense, they [almost] always removed the charges, but it is dishonest and just another waste of my time.
      Been cable free for 4 months now and loving it. Will save enough for a brand new laptop in no time.
      Bye Bye cable and good riddens!

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  8. Maybe because there are a lot of free online Tv in which you could watch TV for free such as tvhod.

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  9. Ryan, you said “But at some point, the value proposition has to break down.”

    But the big question, on Wall Street analyst minds, is WHEN will it happen? Back when the pay-TV ARPU went above $100/month, I thought that would surely be the tipping point — but it wasn’t. Will $150 be the breaking point, I doubt it.

    Why? There’s still a huge segment of the American consumer population that is somewhat discontented with pay-TV’s value for money, but most are too lazy to look for alternatives. They apparently keep paying whatever the increased rate is on their monthly bill. Perhaps affluent and apathetic consumers constitute pay-TV’s core base of customers. Who knows?

    My point: something relatively dramatic will have to happen to drive these people to take action — otherwise, the ongoing decline of traditional pay-TV could take several years to fully run its course. A torturous end to a video entertainment legacy — death by a thousand (cord) cuts.

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    1. The issue I have is that TV is supposed to be relaxing entertainment. Cable is one-click, and the alternatives are not. I don’t want to have to buy a PC just for watching TV in the living room. I don’t want to have to mount an antenna on my house or have it sitting visible in the living room for OTA. I don’t want to have to subscribe to multiple services to find the shows I want. I don’t want to have to use multiple program guides. I don’t want to have to waste my personal time managing that stuff. Outside of work, the computers and electronics in my life are tools, and only tools. And those tools had better be as efficient as possible. The cable box is simple and efficient. The suggested alternatives are not.

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      1. @AnthonyP – True, over-the-top alternatives haven’t done a good job with discovery or ease of use. That’s changing, however, and I think sometime over the next 6-12 months you’ll see some interesting technologies that enable continuous feeds of streaming content delivered to your TV.

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    2. @David – I’m with you. Sometimes I feel like I live in the future, wondering why change doesn’t happen sooner. The tipping point question is a good one. Everyone knows that you can’t infinitely raise rates above inflation and keep your customer base intact forever. But where is that inflection point where you start to lose more revenues through customer losses than you gain through an increase in ARPU? I don’t know, but I’m sure someone’s done a model of it.

      Not to throw another analogy out there, but my gut feeling is that it’ll be like the Titanic hitting an iceberg — the industry won’t know it until it’s too late.

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  10. Look at the economy, look at the unemployment numbers, and the question becomes “Why ARE so many people continuing to waste money on cable?”

    I have never had cable and I have never missed it. I have a cheap DSL Internet connection, an antenna on my roof, and a public library.

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  11. We are 2 1/2 years with no television. I have a 10 year old daughter and we aren’t missing a thing! Saved nearly $2,000 by not having cable.

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  12. I dropped DirecTV because it makes no sense to pay $70 a month for the 10 channels that you actually do watch, questionable service, and crappy customer service. We went with Internet TV and I’m working on digitizing my entire DVD library onto HDD.

    …also, I’m no longer under a contract to watch TV.

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  13. Well I guess I am the exception. Prior to cutting the cord I had 3 HD DVRs, and the Gold package (basically everything) from Cablevision. Now I get everything I want with OTA HD, Plex/Catch and Netflix.

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  14. I dropped cable 2 years ago and have used Hulu and Netflix. There’s too little good programming to justify the cost of cable IMHO. TV isn’t the only form of household entertainment either, there are these things called books that I found are pretty great and pretty cheap.

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  15. Jen Svogar Edwards Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    My husband and I have been cable-free for 3 years now, and I’m loving it. Between Netflix, Xbox Live (to stream it to my television) and a couple of other add-ons, we’re only paying about $25 a month and getting all the entertainment we want, with a bare minimum of advertisements pushing their way into our home. I am able to stream Hulu, Nickelodeon, MTV, OWN, SyFy, PBS, and many others right to my TV. So why would I pay $60 or more for that same privilege, along with dozens of channels I would never watch?

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  16. Cord-cutter here. Didn’t watch enough to justify the ridiculous cost. Watch on demand via AppleTV when I have time to watch something b/c paying per episode/movie amounts to a fraction of my old bill.

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  17. Its become too expensive to get HTDV. And I’m in an area where over the air hardly comes in. I don’t watch online streaming either. And I’m really not too worried about it. All the shows are any ways are singing copetitions and “reality” shows. Bring back real shows, and then I’ll subscribe.

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  18. What an article…Only to be topped off with a picture of Eminem… My God

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  19. There is another factor article does not mention: quality of service. From our own and friends/relatives experience I see exact match between providers with poor service and losing customers as well as providers with good service gaining. That part likely reflects the “migration” across providers. Than IPTV and Netflix-like services eat the rest as the article states.

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  20. Verizon Fios saw growth according to this article..Why?
    Excellent picture, best Motorola HD DVR….fair price.
    My cable company…Brighthouse…expensive poor picture,
    cheap HD DVR

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  21. I love that providers are so clueless. They dont get the new ecosystem of value proposition. They think they can rely on some slick marketing and new lingo naming to sell their tired, obsolete, last gen service to subscribers that have already felt bent ove and reamed by the cable companies.

    Well my advice is; you keep right on thinking that and keep right on raising your prices for your second-rate crap products and see how these quarterly cord-cutting numbers rise. Particularly in the face of a new depression! Netflix as the new consumption model has beaten you on all accounts and knows how to deliver value to subscribers such as myself.

    Good riddance to rubbish service I always say and I cant wait to see your power in the entertainment delivery world wain!

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  22. Ryan, don’t forget that the ARPU that most TV Operators quote are for triple play bundles, and not just TV. TV-only ARPUs do tend to be lower, but triple play (and quad play) will likely increase in the short term.

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  23. I dropped it because I can’t stand dealing with Cablevision.

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  24. We cut the cord in our house. I get the majority of the shows I want over the air with my Antenna, some with a Netflix streaming only connection, and new shows À la carte from Amazon.

    I was spending around $50 a month on Cable before I cut it. Now I spend the $8 a month on Netflix. That leaves me $504 a year to spend on À la carte shows on Amazon and Redbox movie rentals before I break even on cable TV. Will I watch 168 shows in HD on Amazon (assuming $3 per show for an “hour” long show)? No way, we’re money ahead, and I can go back and stream those shows over and over whenever I want.

    I sometimes miss certain cable channels for sports, but I figure that will work itself out before too long. The sports leagues won’t miss out on revenue because of the cable companies for too long. And there’s always the bar.

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  25. Dropped cable and phone in March in favor or OTA antenna, Netflix, PlayonTV and Nettalk for phone. Considering FTA satellite in the future. Might consider Sprint 4G for my ISP if it tests out good for Netflix and Playontv streaming. Cutting cable will save my family over $1700/yr. We haven’t missed not having cable and find ourselves spending more time away from the TV.

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  26. Dropped cable, I get a combination of free over the air digital and Hulu/Netflix over the Xbox or the computers. The cable companies that I used had horrible customer service and wanted to sell me services I was not interested on. I hardly ever used it and the digital content they provided was sub par. I could not be happier with the way I get my entertainment now.

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  27. You crazy americans :)
    I live in germany and i tell you: no one, absolutely no one, is going to pay 100$ or 150$ a month for a TV subscription here.
    For a low monthly fee (about 25$/month), that everyone with a tv set has to pay, you get 20 public TV channels (including 4 nationial channels, and lots of regional ones) and 25 or more ad-supported private broadcast channels. And you get it in HD (720p) for the major channels and 567i (digital SD) for the smaller ones.
    For an additional fee of 2$/month you get everything in HD.

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    1. Ahhhh. We Americans love getting screwed. We’re addicted to it ;)

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  28. Dropped cable as well. Not only is it absurdly expensive for a service that you can find online for free. But the reality is that the shows that are on televsion just aren’t entertaining. If you don’t like reality television or watching spoiled people continuously make morons of themselves than there isn’t anything else on.

    Seriously, think about it. What was the last show that you watched that you enjoyed…that wasn’t reality tv? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

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  29. I’d pay for a la cart. Don’t want to pay for 100 other channels I never watch.

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  30. Dropped TV altogether. The quality is so bad and the price for this junk is outrageous and watching TV is generally a waste of time.

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  31. Marisa Reichert Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    So we’re refusing to consider cord-cutters might be reacting to a glut of lousy offerings on TV?Apart from news,whcih I can get online,the only thing I’d want out of TV is those rare programs that are only on temporarily,like the Women’s World Cup Soccer games.That,and now that Nickelodeon is playing old Nicktoons late at night,I’d like that,but what does it say when my only motivation for regular TV-watching is a bunch of stuff that went off the air ten years ago?When mainstream media realizzes it needs to cater to it’s audiences differently instead of trying to produce something with the most appeal as cheaply as possible regardless of quality,people will pay for mainstream TV.

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  32. prices are a big factor and the availability of OTT like Netflix. I moved over myself because I want my kids to watch “decent movies” vs Disney channel and iCarly! Prices for triple play here in Europe make the USA seem out of touch….

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    1. Disney…right now that’s our main staple, but increasingly my wife and I are like “WTF?”. I’m seriously considering canceling the cable part of my comcast bill.

      I’m wondering what the withdrawal symptoms will be like from my 4 year old. meh, she’ll be better for it.

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      1. If you have a 4 year old, the kids programming is pretty good. I recently called Comcast to drop TV service and cut back to just phone and internet, and they offered me a 1 year promotion for a triple play package with a lower tier TV offering that is cheaper than their phone/Internet combo. My 3 year old is now watching more PBS. A good thing.

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  33. @Dennis Crowely

    That describes me perfectly. I thought about it deeply at one point and realized it was the lack of entertaining content, an entertainment shift to video games, and a preference for reading if I wasn’t at a LAN party or gaming.

    These days it includes the ability to watch via Netflix or Hulu the few good shows that are on. Of course you could say some of us also just questioned the reason we were paying $150 a month for TV (since all the decent science/history channels got moved to premium packages around here at least.)

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  34. i dropped my cable months ago watch everything. i got tired of being told by the cable companie when i could watch my shows= and at what time.

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  35. The piped in T.V. has become a mash of channels that are selling religion,junk jewelery, movie channels that wear out movies rerunning from one channel to the next. And this is what the customer is paying for. It’s no wonder people are bailing out.

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  36. We got rid of our cable. The cable company didn’t want to come fix it for 12 days when the box broke so I told them to shove it. We now use boxee and hulu and other online providers and I don’t really miss it at all.

    I also didn’t have cable in college. Who has time for that?

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  37. Women are 52% of the population and make 80% of the household spending decisions. I have been offered NFL and also Showtime and HBO to keep my subscription. I don’t give a rats ass about any of these channels. Women’s content is content women will pay to consume. Because Media have considered “women’s content” to be anything men say it is they have nothing to offer me to entice me to continue their service. How bout a package of beauty pageants, bikini volleyball and Victoria’s Secret fashion shows? Those shows all have women in them!? Um well I think I will pass on that! How bout a package of movies that feature women as victims of violence and plucky workers in the sex industry, those show all have women in them! Um no I don’t value that. Well how bout beauty product placement venues like Tyra, she is a woman. Um no, I’m not interested. My kids grew up and Cable no longer has anything I want. I can get the few shows I do watch for free on the internet. BTW none of my kids have cable in their new households.

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    1. Right on!

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  38. I had full cable package, and dropped it. You can stream HD free many places, and for $9, get netflix or hulu+, even though hulu is free. Why pay 100′s when $10 will suffice?

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  39. “But at some point, the value proposition has to break down”

    You didnt make the case for that at all. And the non-stop climb in ARPU (which you acknowledge) – which is always a significant % growth each reporting period – doesn’t give you much to argue from. Why does it have to break down? At what level? When?

    But thanks once again for corralling the “I cut the cord!” anecdoters. 51 out of about 105,000,000 households…

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    1. Kevin – Subscriber growth is flat, because at 90% penetration there just aren’t that many more households. So the cable industry is increasing revenues in other ways: raising rates, increasing the cost of leasing set-top boxes, DVRs and HD.

      Most reasonable businesses can’t expect to raise their prices 5-10% every year and expect that growth to be sustainable over the long term. Yet, that is exactly what the cable industry is doing. At some point, people reach a limit to how much they are willing (and able) to pay.

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  40. Kevin: What is breaking down is the Corporate Media monopoly which controlled who could bring content to market and also force fed the darling channels of a bunch of old media men. Again, women are 52% of the population and make 80% of household spending decisions. There is no financially relevant definition of “women’s content” except “content women will pay to consume”. I now can buy books on my Nook without leaving home AND I can purchase and read trash and no one can even tell! I just tell them “I like to read women authors” (Charlaine Harris, Stephanie Meyers, Janet Evonovich). I also have reconnected with a bunch of old friends who moved out of state on Facebook and that takes up my screen time. I also like to play the Wii work out game and I like to go to the new women’s gym to work out and chat. Cable TV just doesn’t have anything I want anymore. And I seriously doubt that people who consider lingerie football, bikini volleyball, thong poll vaulting and professional cheerleader tryouts to be “women’s sports” and “women’s content” because they have women in them are going to develop something I want to watch. I agree, the cable model is going to go down like the Titanic.

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  41. Same thing here. We pay for cable internet because we use that all the time. $40+ a month for basic cable because I miss food network and my husband misses basketball games isn’t worth it. After three years of being TV free those are the only aspects of it we miss.

    I do really wish Comcast weren’t the only option for cable anything in our area though, as last month they tried to add cable TV and an upgraded internet plan to our bill, and then tried multiple times to tell us that we TOLD them to do so, and when that failed, convince us the better service was worth it. Just another tale of Comcast’s crappy customer service, except switching us to a higher speed internet package also fried my 10 year old router thus forcing us to buy another, which is money I’d really like to have back. I’d switch in a heartbeat if they had ANY competition.

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  42. But if there was a lack of concern about cord cutters … it’s because in most cases, they didn’t want those subscribers anyway.

    Not sure I accept the premise. The total number of subscribers is an important metric for cable operators. Don’t forget they are getting revenue from advertisers too – not just your cable bill. And once they lose you as any kind of a subscriber it makes it that much harder to sell you anything else as in the “bundle”. Realize that the basic video sub might be getting his phone from AT&T, and his broadband from DSL extreme.
    http://cordcutterguide.com/

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  43. how many of these people are just canceling internet and using a splitter to get free basic cable… I did that for 3 years.. and then my provider changed to all digital and only 1 of my tv’s worked

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  44. EDIT.. how many of these people are just canceling cable tv, and using a splitter from the internet line to get free basic cable… I did that for 3 years.. and then my provider changed to all digital and only 1 of my tv’s worked

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  45. TheTransplant Friday, August 19, 2011

    So, they didn’t want my $1400 per year for programming from the 80′s? Good god, then I am even more glad I cut the cord.

    HD local programming is free… between Netflix and Hulu, you can pick your own bad programming, rather that letting some idiot at Showtime or HBO do it.

    Long live the internet- Death to cable and satellite ripoffs. Cut the cord.

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  46. MariettaGator Friday, August 19, 2011

    Atlanta area, I dropped cable two years ago for over-the-air HD and Netflix streaming. Couldn’t justify a cable bill that exceeded my electric bill…

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  47. MariettaGator Friday, August 19, 2011

    My Comcast bill exceeded my electric bill. Cut the cord and couldn’t be happier with the 2 dozen HD channels I get over-the-air plus Netflix streaming. I can watch Fox News on my iPhone and download (free) episodes of my favorite cable series like Breaking Bad & Sons of Anarchy.

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  48. Ralph Vincent Ferraren Friday, September 2, 2011

    I would do it in a heartbeat if it weren’t for sports programming. http://www.cabletvcompanies.org/ And with football season coming up, my only option to get that sports programming is Comcast. So I’m essentially stuck until some other vendor comes up with what I want.

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    1. Ralph, it’s possible to get NFL Sunday ticket online — it’s just expensive.

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