Cord Cutting Starts Small

8:00 AM How many TV cords can you cut, after all?

BlueButtMonkey 12/5/2012 | 4:15:47 PM
re: Cord Cutting Starts Small

Few thoughts:

- Awesome production value for an LRTV video - from the juxtaposition of the CD case to the lonely hut in Greeland. Good stuff.

- The ESPN survey is so laughable, I'm sure they are in a bit of a panic given that such a large part of every subscriber's cable bill goes to pay for ESPN. I don't have the most recent figures, but I think it works out to $4-5+ dollars for me each month. Even in a cord cut world, ESPN would thrive, but the competition would be harder. I've got two other local sports networks in my area, plus ESPN...do I really need all of them? No, and I'd probably chose the local networks.

- I think near term there is probably a cord 'saving' or 'reducing' movement first, where people keep one set int heir house with pay TV (for live sports and other content not online), but they might either cut back on add'l sets in their house...or if they buy a new TV, just connect it to the Internet/Roku/Apple TV/etc vs. getting another set top box. It then becomes a fixed cost to access a lot of content vs. monthly expense to get everything.

Agreed that eventually the cord will be cut and progressive pay TV companies like Comcast that own networks, programming, etc will be in the best position to capitalize while yucks like Charter will get mowed over.

Tipping point is live sports. I'm in-market so I can't get access to my teams via MLB on Roku, etc....once that changes, I'd cancel cable that same day.


somedumbPM 12/5/2012 | 4:15:45 PM
re: Cord Cutting Starts Small

I just reduced my cord. 

I cut all the premium channels HBO, MAX, SHO, STARZ, etc. 

I am also waiting for the sports broadcasts contracts to change so that I can get streams of the only sports I care about -NFL (currently available outside of the US) and Formula 1.  I can really do without ESPN itself (outside of MNF) as they are trying to cater to the masses and have gotten away from all the content I once liked.

Once I get the few thing I want -via any means- I make the full move.  My grief is not with the cord, it is with bundled vs. a la carte content.  Maybe SDV can help the cord guys out on that front.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:15:44 PM
re: Cord Cutting Starts Small

ESPN study was announced Dec. 6; see ESPN Study: 0.1% of US Homes Cut Cord

Picture of CDs taken from quatro.typepad.com.  By the way, I am *not* part of that percentage that sticks exclusively to CDs. The wall behind me was built in the 1990s.

The 50% figure has no substantiation; it's just an example number (although 50% really wouldn't surprise me).

"Zero" house photo taken from capefarewell.com.  The house is in Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland (nice catch, BlueButt). I don't know its broadband status, but I bet it doesn't have cable.

somedumbPM 12/5/2012 | 4:15:43 PM
re: Cord Cutting Starts Small

I haven't thought about blackouts, but that is a very good point.  The blackout rules for TV were written to make sure the stadiums were full (or in reality, that all tickets were sold) and not everyone stayed home and decided it was a better viewing experience costing the stadium owners/operators money. 

I am sure the NFL guys already have a plan in place for the next round of contract talks with the broadcasters, but I am not sure of why there would be a streamwide vs TV blackout instead of or in addition to a TV vs stadium one.  I think it would be local stream and TV vs stadium with the same rules in place. 

But the advertising $ may throw a wrinkle in there somehow.  The amount of advertising tolerated for a paid stream and the availability of a duplicate stream from a broadcaster with full and or additional screenborder advertising is something I also wonder about.

FOX is one of the big reasons I want the cord cut for sports -putting infomercials in NFL game slots on Sundays and interrupting Formula 1 coverage shows with NASCAR practice talk show overtimes (SPEED owned by FOX) make me steam.

I just want to know how much money and where to send it to the NFL and F1 to not have to watch FOX for free!

Glad I am not a baseball fan, that sounds very frustrating.


furious_george 12/5/2012 | 4:15:43 PM
re: Cord Cutting Starts Small

"I wonder if the NFL holds more clout."

According to "http://football.calsci.com/SalaryCap.html", about 2/3 of the NFL revenue is derived from the TV contract.  I think that it will be tough for the league to really strong arm the networks, unless an over the top provider can add revenue.  As a simple optics engineer & football fan, I'm speculating that there are a lot of presentations & briefs flying around this issue and the looming NFL players association collective bargaining agreement.  I'd love to cancel cable, but I'm not yet willing to sacrifice the live sports.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:15:43 PM
re: Cord Cutting Starts Small

SomeDumbPM -- What do you suppose the NFL's blackout rules will be for online viewing?

I've got the MLB.com package, but their blackout rules are just obnoxious.  You can never watch your local team, at home or on the road, and the definition of "local" is insanely broad. From Las Vegas, all five California teams are considered "local," IIRC.

You also can't watch Saturday afternoon games. Fox Sports blacks out ALL of them, even though Fox is televising only two.

What I think is happening is that MLB does whatever TV tells it to do. Spineless. I wonder if the NFL holds more clout.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:15:43 PM
re: Cord Cutting Starts Small

Thanks, BlueButt.  You're right that cord shaving is the bigger trend; I think pretty much everybody agrees with that. To me, it's just another sign that cord-cutting will happen. There's a willingness and a lack of fear that's already starting to show.

Sports will, indeed, be the biggest factor. Heavy Reading even did a report on that a few years ago, IIRC (I'd look it up now but gotta leave the office in a sec). Look at how many people picked their provider solely because of NFL Red Zone.

I'm not sure I agree about ESPN being in a panic, though.  Granted, it's their own headline that emphasizes the lack of cord-cutting found in the study.  But ESPN seems to be one of the most online-savvy networks, and they're deeply in love with technology. They'll be one of the networks most prepared for a cord-cut market.

Btw, that $4-5+ per month isn't ESPN, it's Disney. Which might make it even more infuriating for you.  :)  But for most US households, one of ESPN, Disney Channel, or ABC is a must-have.

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