Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cutting the Cord About as Real as a Unicorn

Amazingly, cutting the cord is still a buzz term in the news and tech world these days.  It seems like people have been talking about it for a few years.  Even I have highlighted the growing trend in a few posts, but calling the movement of unplugging from the cable or satellite provider popular a shift is probably over dramatic.

According to ABC News, the average cost of a cable subscription jumped nearly six percent last year, and will likely only increase (really, you didn’t think it would drop did you?) in the coming years.  Even with that increase, it seems like the buzz of breaking away and saving some cash has lost steam.

Bloomberg highlighted in March of this year that the cable industry lost a quarter of a million subscribers in 2013 but that still leaves 100 million or so people plugged in.  Granted there are a number of reasons why users are still paying for programming and there are likely a whole lot more.

Maybe the technology to circumvent paying for cable hasn’t been perfected (don’t tell Netflix), but since many cable providers double as Internet providers it seems likely the stage is set to just transition charges from one place to another.  It just doesn’t seem like anyone is going to lose money in the transition.

Hey, cutting the cord has a lot of benefits, saving money chiefly among those, but it takes preparation, sacrifice, and dare I say it, change.  Anyone not willing to morph into a different kind of entertainment consumers is probably not going to gain much ground in the cord cutting debate.  For this reason, fewer people are going to attempt to break free.

All those a la carte deals fans are searching for (to choose what channels they actually get) are like a unicorn, because they are beautiful to look at but all myth.  One network owns other networks, and no business in its right mind is going to offer to go out of business.

The short of it is, unless a major technology boost occurs where networks offer streaming packages of their own programming options on an individual basis (think an ABC subscription that includes access to Disney, ESPN, etc.) cord cutters are going to continue to be scarce.

The battle against technology to keep the current cable system in place, like poor Aereo TV found out, is stacked in favor of the networks and cable providers, because let’s face it, they own the stadium the game is being played in.  Luckily for folks looking to save money and for people looking to innovate, there is still a lot of time on the clock.

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