A reader commented on our article about fall TV options for cord cutters: “And here I thought the purpose of “cutting the cord” was to eliminate those monthly cable charges; not find new ways of throwing my money away.”
Cord-cutting is not the same thing as giving up TV all together. And while many folks do it to save money, just as many do it for the convenience and selection. They want to just spend their money on the things they enjoy instead of a whole range of channels.
For cable and satellite services, you generally don’t have the option to purchase things al a carte, you buy packages with tiers of channels. To be fare to cable and satellite companies, that’s not their choice. That’s the way providers sell programming to them. If I am a supplier with a popular channel, I’ll bundle less-popular channels with it and make companies take the whole lot of they want to run the popular one. It’s a way to increase visibility for my products. And since I’m charging the cable or satellite provider for that channel, they will pass the cost on to the customer.
There’s a whole lot of programming available over the air with an antenna, but not everyone lives in an area where you can pick up a signal. With the advent of HDTV signals, many people who used to receive acceptable TV signals with an antenna can no longer get them at all. This is especially a problem in rural areas.
Some network programming is available online, but often times you’re expected to log in with a cable or satellite provider to view it. If, as a user, I’m not interested in giving up my favorite shows, I can subscribe to a service like Netflix or Hulu for around $10 a month and still get access to quite a lot of programming. It’s also available on demand when and where I want to watch.
Subscribing to Hulu or Netflix could still be substantially cheaper that paying for an entire cable package and many viewers, especially younger ones, expect to know have their programming delivered on demand instead of waiting to watch on a network’s schedule.
While cutting the cord can save you money, for many it’s more about convenience and selection.