Cord-cutting reaches an all-time high

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,597   +124
Staff member
What just happened? We can add the traditional pay TV industry to the growing list of those that have not benefited from the pandemic. According to market research company eMarketer, 31.2 million households in the US will have “cut the cord” in aggregate by the end of the year. At the going rate, by the end of 2024, fewer than half of US households will subscribe to a pay TV service.

Eric Haggstrom, eMarketer forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence, said consumers are choosing to cut the cord because of high prices, especially compared to streaming alternatives. “The loss of live sports in H1 2020 contributed to further declines”, Haggstrom said.

Even though sports have largely returned, people aren’t necessarily returning to their old cable or satellite plans.

The advertising industry is also feeling the squeeze. eMarketer said total spending on traditional TV ads will drop 15 percent this year to $60 billion, the lowest level since 2011. Things should rebound a bit next year but the firm anticipates spending will stay below pre-pandemic levels through at least 2024.

Some, including Haggstrom, don’t think spending will ever return to pre-pandemic levels.

“While TV ad spending will rebound in 2021 with the broader economy, it will never return to pre-pandemic levels,” he said.

Indeed, given current trends to move to over-the-top offerings, a general audience erosion and the growth in streaming video platforms, ad money is almost certainly going to continue to move away from traditional TV.

Masthead credit: Kristin Chiasson

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,502   +3,346
First of all, we are facing record job loss, record cost of living increases in housing, record rent crisis,record mortgage crisis, and people can't afford to pay the basics, let alone afford healthcare.

Record underemployment, record unemployment, housing inflation, record death count from pandemic and poorly targeted government programs. Otherwise known as Stagflation.

So...the government responds to our dilemma by handing us $1200 to get us through 6 months... and by attacking Tik Tok and We Chat.

Cable TV and add-ons are unnecessary at this point and most people are focused on the essentials.


The problem is that these cable companies force us into packages such as HBO and Showtime so we can watch our favorite shows and many people can't easily leave them, or Netflix/ Amazon/Hulu/Apple, etc.

Thanks to the availability and cheapness of a SMART TV, all you really need is an internet connection and you have more than enough access to TV entertainment: free shows, free movies and a lot of "channels".
 
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TomSEA

Posts: 3,275   +1,930
"...said consumers are choosing to cut the cord because of high prices, especially compared to streaming alternatives."

I'm still not buying this argument, unless you are a minimal TV watcher. I've tried a number of times to justify cutting the cord. But every time I do, I come up with the same numbers: the cost of adding multiple streaming packages - and the internet subscription - to get what I want (especially sports), is within a few dollars of dealing with one cable TV/Internet package that gives me everything I need.

I think the cable TV drop figures they're looking at has more to do with what QuantumPhysics stated. People are cutting corners due to COVID related reduced income and cable TV is something most people can temporarily go without.
 

tacobravo

Posts: 129   +150
The TV industry needs to change to a al la carte model. I want to be able to only buy the channels I want to watch and not the numerous garbage channels in their TV bundles.

Also it would be nice not to see so many damn advertisements. I hate watching a TV show for 5 minutes only to get 5 minutes worth of advertisements right after it.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,072   +2,622
"...said consumers are choosing to cut the cord because of high prices, especially compared to streaming alternatives."

I'm still not buying this argument, unless you are a minimal TV watcher. I've tried a number of times to justify cutting the cord. But every time I do, I come up with the same numbers: the cost of adding multiple streaming packages - and the internet subscription - to get what I want (especially sports), is within a few dollars of dealing with one cable TV/Internet package that gives me everything I need.

I think the cable TV drop figures they're looking at has more to do with what QuantumPhysics stated. People are cutting corners due to COVID related reduced income and cable TV is something most people can temporarily go without.
For some regions even having Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video you still pay less. I pay personally for Netflix and Prime Video and I have no TV subscription.
 
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TomSEA

Posts: 3,275   +1,930
The TV industry needs to change to a al la carte model. I want to be able to only buy the channels I want to watch and not the numerous garbage channels in their TV bundles.

Also it would be nice not to see so many damn advertisements. I hate watching a TV show for 5 minutes only to get 5 minutes worth of advertisements right after it.
That's what DVR's are for. I can't remember the last time I watched a show live. Even sporting events - I'll record the first 45 minutes and then blow through the commercials while watching the rest.
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 1,591   +1,624
TechSpot Elite
Play computer games.

No really, that's why I don't watch TV now. It's not like I don't like TV or something, I just like computer games more. Dunno about the cost/benefit though, let's see what I can come up with:

Computer (at time of purchase):
$190 CPU
$290 GPU
$85 MoBo
$70 PSU
$200 SSD
$135 RAM
$40 case (ya cheap bastard)
$50 KB
$40 Rat

$1100 and I've had most of it for 2 years with the exception of the GPU. So $46/mo. and gets cheaper every month. Cheaper than cable or 3-5 streaming services. But need to add in games. I have 21 on my desktop (yeah yeah, shut up) which cost me about $300 total, all bought on some sort of sale, a few FTP.

$1400 for 2 years or $58/mo. Not bad and I'm still getting good use and value from it. And the computer is now also my work computer thanks to work from home, which I don't think cable/streaming video is quite suited for.

This is a lot cheaper than my previous primary hobby, Astronomy. Got over $6k in that but it was over 15 years so not too bad, and that stuff doesn't lose it's value like tech does.
 

poohbear

Posts: 495   +371
Netflix is $11/mth, and I share my subscription with 3 family members at 3 different locations with their own devices. I'm an Amazon Prime member for the fast shipping, so PrimeTV is a free addon for me.

And they wonder why people are dropping cable services?
 
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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,485   +5,992
I am a bit surprised that the FCC has not lobbied Congress to but cable communications under the same regulations as broadcast TV. Of course broadcast uses the "public airwaves" but cable uses "public earth that the poles are buried in and public airwaves for DISH and similar services. The idea is simple ... regulation on price increases and services. I'm not in favor of more govt. regulation but if they don't get regulated the costs will continue to skyrocket and I'm not sure the free market will rein them in......
 

PEnnn

Posts: 457   +393
I am a bit surprised that the FCC has not lobbied Congress to but cable communications under the same regulations as broadcast TV. Of course broadcast uses the "public airwaves" but cable uses "public earth that the poles are buried in and public airwaves for DISH and similar services. The idea is simple ... regulation on price increases and services. I'm not in favor of more govt. regulation but if they don't get regulated the costs will continue to skyrocket and I'm not sure the free market will rein them in......
Not gonna happen.

Those companies have super powers. In the US those super powers are known as lobbyists and tons of bribe money, aka "donations".
 
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Fimbulvetr

Posts: 29   +34
Play computer games.

No really, that's why I don't watch TV now. It's not like I don't like TV or something, I just like computer games more. Dunno about the cost/benefit though, let's see what I can come up with:

Computer (at time of purchase):
$190 CPU
$290 GPU
$85 MoBo
$70 PSU
$200 SSD
$135 RAM
$40 case (ya cheap bastard)
$50 KB
$40 Rat

$1100 and I've had most of it for 2 years with the exception of the GPU. So $46/mo. and gets cheaper every month. Cheaper than cable or 3-5 streaming services. But need to add in games. I have 21 on my desktop (yeah yeah, shut up) which cost me about $300 total, all bought on some sort of sale, a few FTP.

$1400 for 2 years or $58/mo. Not bad and I'm still getting good use and value from it. And the computer is now also my work computer thanks to work from home, which I don't think cable/streaming video is quite suited for.

This is a lot cheaper than my previous primary hobby, Astronomy. Got over $6k in that but it was over 15 years so not too bad, and that stuff doesn't lose it's value like tech does.
Refractor or reflector? Or both? :)
 

toooooot

Posts: 1,309   +617
I cant see how a human with a healthy brain can bear the amount of ads today's TV has.
I cant see how a human who is able to count can justify the amount of utter garbage a typical subscriber pays for.
I remember though, some USA sports like football have a structure that allows a giant amount of ads due to constant interruptions. In a way, an American viewer is "trained" to consume ads. And keeping that in mind, I am happy to see people are dropping this service.
I hope that woke culture and its poopy products follow next, losing most of its viewers and a lot of money. I am so fed up with diversity inclusion and political correctness making 99% of movies or TV shows because that simply doesn't allow any place for creativity fun and memorable content.
And you, content makers, must recall why we pay to watch things you create: to get away from life, to use a portal in another fun and entertaining world. And when all you do is shove your political opinions and trendy morality up our faces, I am warning you. There are people who can and will steal your customers. We are facing interesting times ahead...
 

gigantor21

Posts: 251   +395
TechSpot Elite
Cable is worthless to people who don't follow sports, as you can watch most anything else worth watching via streaming. Plus there are tons of big shows/movies that will never be on cable to begin with.

Between that and the economy being a smoldering crater, it's not surprising.

 
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gamerk2

Posts: 431   +302
I am a bit surprised that the FCC has not lobbied Congress to but cable communications under the same regulations as broadcast TV. Of course broadcast uses the "public airwaves" but cable uses "public earth that the poles are buried in and public airwaves for DISH and similar services. The idea is simple ... regulation on price increases and services. I'm not in favor of more govt. regulation but if they don't get regulated the costs will continue to skyrocket and I'm not sure the free market will rein them in......
Here's what happens with a lack of regulation in *every* industry: You get rapid initial growth as everything throws money to try and make a quick buck, you reach maturity and the majority of startups fails, and after about a decade you are left with three to four market leaders who have all but acquired everyone else. At that point, price competition stops (as it's bad for business) and competition is based on features (eg: expensive addons) instead.

The difference between now and 150 years ago is companies are ensuring they have at least one rival in order to skirt anti-trust laws.
 
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gamerk2

Posts: 431   +302
First of all, we are facing record job loss, record cost of living increases in housing, record rent crisis,record mortgage crisis, and people can't afford to pay the basics, let alone afford healthcare.

Record underemployment, record unemployment, housing inflation, record death count from pandemic and poorly targeted government programs. Otherwise known as Stagflation.
What we're seeing economically is a small percentage of the populace is eating a larger and larger share of the pie, and prices are increasing to match their spending power. Everyone else falls farther behind as a result.

You see this effect in housing prices in cities: You get some tech company that needs to fill a couple hundred 100k+ jobs, and housing prices immediately spike to accommodate the amount of young people with sudden access to wealth. That's Capitalism 101, and there's not much a Capitalist society can do to fix that type of problem.

My solution is Socialist, but would not only work but turn a profit: let government enter the housing market, reserve the housing units for people making below 4x the poverty line (somewhere around 80k a year) in order to not put too much downward pressure on upscale housing, and set prices at cost plus 5% the cost of upkeep. You supply low-income housing directly targeted at those who need it, while turning a small profit to enable the program to remain viable. [This as opposed to subsidies, or literally just giving away money.]
 

S Hone

Posts: 28   +23
What we're seeing economically is a small percentage of the populace is eating a larger and larger share of the pie, and prices are increasing to match their spending power. Everyone else falls farther behind as a result.

You see this effect in housing prices in cities: You get some tech company that needs to fill a couple hundred 100k+ jobs, and housing prices immediately spike to accommodate the amount of young people with sudden access to wealth. That's Capitalism 101, and there's not much a Capitalist society can do to fix that type of problem.

My solution is Socialist, but would not only work but turn a profit: let government enter the housing market, reserve the housing units for people making below 4x the poverty line (somewhere around 80k a year) in order to not put too much downward pressure on upscale housing, and set prices at cost plus 5% the cost of upkeep. You supply low-income housing directly targeted at those who need it, while turning a small profit to enable the program to remain viable. [This as opposed to subsidies, or literally just giving away money.]
In Ireland it is illegal to build residential accommodation without allocating 10% of same spec houses/apartments for "social housing" - government buys these residencies and then rents them to lower paid people/families based on their incomes. This helps lower wealth people mix with higher wealth people and lets people afford to live. This was introduced in the past few years. Not sure if it is a great idea, maybe easy to game the system...
 
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Jay Watt

Posts: 7   +6
"...said consumers are choosing to cut the cord because of high prices, especially compared to streaming alternatives."

I'm still not buying this argument, unless you are a minimal TV watcher. I've tried a number of times to justify cutting the cord. But every time I do, I come up with the same numbers: the cost of adding multiple streaming packages - and the internet subscription - to get what I want (especially sports), is within a few dollars of dealing with one cable TV/Internet package that gives me everything I need.

I think the cable TV drop figures they're looking at has more to do with what QuantumPhysics stated. People are cutting corners due to COVID related reduced income and cable TV is something most people can temporarily go without.
I don't do cable because of the ads. Even if other services such as Netflix, HBO, Amazon, etc equal the cost of cable, it is a far superior product due to no ads. I think many people are okay with ads for free services such as over-the-air TV or YouTube, but paying $70+ for a service that's about 25% ads is ludicrous in my opinion. If you want sports, you can get Sling TV for about $30 and then all other shows not have ads through the other services.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,410   +3,486
I am a bit surprised that the FCC has not lobbied Congress to but cable communications under the same regulations as broadcast TV. Of course broadcast uses the "public airwaves" but cable uses "public earth that the poles are buried in and public airwaves for DISH and similar services. The idea is simple ... regulation on price increases and services. I'm not in favor of more govt. regulation but if they don't get regulated the costs will continue to skyrocket and I'm not sure the free market will rein them in......
There is one big thing standing in the way of that ATM: Ajit Pai As long as he is in there, there is no hope of cable TV under the same regulations as broadcast TV much less any kind of net neutrality.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,410   +3,486
Honestly, I just got rid of Ad based Hulu even though it was only $5.99/mo. Mainly because there seems to be nothing I really want to watch on there any more without paying extra for their ad-ons. One of the questions as to why I was leaving was "I cannot find enough to watch" I used that as a response, and they tried, in the web form, to upsell me to all the ad-ons. There was no way that I was going to pay extra for any add-on.
 

gamerk2

Posts: 431   +302
In Ireland it is illegal to build residential accommodation without allocating 10% of same spec houses/apartments for "social housing" - government buys these residencies and then rents them to lower paid people/families based on their incomes. This helps lower wealth people mix with higher wealth people and lets people afford to live. This was introduced in the past few years. Not sure if it is a great idea, maybe easy to game the system...
This is actually a solid idea, since it avoids the issues you run into when you have large housing blocks in specific areas dedicated for low-income housing, since it absolutely trashes housing prices in those areas. It makes more sense to spread it around evenly.
 
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toooooot

Posts: 1,309   +617
What we're seeing economically is a small percentage of the populace is eating a larger and larger share of the pie, and prices are increasing to match their spending power. Everyone else falls farther behind as a result.

You see this effect in housing prices in cities: You get some tech company that needs to fill a couple hundred 100k+ jobs, and housing prices immediately spike to accommodate the amount of young people with sudden access to wealth. That's Capitalism 101, and there's not much a Capitalist society can do to fix that type of problem.

My solution is Socialist, but would not only work but turn a profit: let government enter the housing market, reserve the housing units for people making below 4x the poverty line (somewhere around 80k a year) in order to not put too much downward pressure on upscale housing, and set prices at cost plus 5% the cost of upkeep. You supply low-income housing directly targeted at those who need it, while turning a small profit to enable the program to remain viable. [This as opposed to subsidies, or literally just giving away money.]
I fear socialists for their ability to destroy things beyond repair often, but the housing problem is real, and has to be delt with. That I agree with.
 

gamerk2

Posts: 431   +302
I fear socialists for their ability to destroy things beyond repair often, but the housing problem is real, and has to be delt with. That I agree with.
I could say the same about Capitalists. In *theory* Capitalism works, but in practice you always end up with a few dominant market players, a loss of competition, leading to a loss for consumers. Even Adam Smith noted that cases like these required direct intervention (something *lots* of people ignore when discussing Capitalism).

The fact is, the housing market is acting exactly like you would expect it to when you have part of the population rapidly gaining wealth. The problem isn't the number of houses; there's literally places (SF) where there are four times the amount of empty houses as there are people living on the streets. It's strictly a market problem, as it's the people making six figures driving housing prices, not the people living on the streets. Subsidies gets people off the streets, but supports the broken market prices. The only reasonable way to bring prices down is to undercut the market directly; the only real argument is how much to get involved.

Point is, Capitalism is working exactly as you'd expect. And a larger and larger portion of the population are starting to realize how badly that works out for them. Hence why European/Nordic style Socialism is getting so much attention these days. You may not like that as a solution, but is *is* a solution, and I've yet to hear any solutions from the other side aside from "nothing is wrong" or "keep doing what we've been doing; the problem will fix itself".
 
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