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Let's talk the business of broadcast / cable / satellite / streaming TV


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There are a number of Huddlers who have cut the cord and are no longer paying to a cable or satellite channel bundle. You're still paying for Internet, and you may be subscribed to at least one paid subscription service.

Lots of discussion topics here, ranging from what do you think is going to happen to the broadcast industry in general to ... consolidation, technology, new business opportunties, and more.

 

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We'll start easy.  

Which services do you personally pay for or subscribe to (if they're free), and why do you like those services enough to pay for 'em?  We can cover those services that you "borrow" or otherwise obtain under the table a bit later...

Some of the options should be (in no particular order)....

  • Netflix
  • HBO Max
  • HULU
  • ESPN+
  • Paramount+
  • Disney+
  • AppleTV+
  • Amazon Prime
  • Peacock

Free:

  • Crackle
  • Crunchyroll
  • Plex
  • Tubi
  • IMDb TV
  • PlutoTV
  • VUDU

TV Alternatives:

  • (pick almost any individual channel, they have some sort of service)
  • Viceland
  • YouTube Premium
  • Hulu + Live TV
  • Sling

 

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For those of you with cable subscriptions, do you like that you can log in and access any of the streaming/on demand versions of channels like History, Starz, or Showtime if they're part of your package? Is keeping the cable subscription worth that convenience of "you've already paid for it, so go and watch it?"

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I want ala carte. There are maybe, maybe, 5 channels I would pay for. I will not pay for any channels that also want to stream commercials to me. I cut the cord 12 years ago and have not missed any shows that I want to watch. Hulu, Netflix etc. will usually get me what I want. Football can be watched...I would happily pay a reasonable rate just for the season pass. 

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We have

Hulu

Netflix (for 0)

And Philo we switched from sling because they kept raising prices so if anyone can recommend a free option to replace Philo, needs amc,  mtv,  and lifetime. My wife loves married at first site and teen mom so if it doesn't have those there's no point. We have also been watching less and less TV since we moved and that will be reduced further in October when our little girl is born 

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I used to flip back and forth between direct and dish because I live out in the boonies. Got too frustrating and too expensive so I quit.

YouTube tv (for sports...mainly football. My dad also uses my account for sports and news)

Netflix (had been using their service for years renting DVDs. Just made sense to switch to the streaming service. (My parents  and sis also use this account.)

Amazon (was a prime member for years before I watching. Sooo...I was paying for it anyways. Don't consider that an extra expense.)

Hulu (I use my sister's account).

When I find a show I want to watch on something I'm not subscribed to, I'll join long enough to watch it and then discontinue service.

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13 hours ago, Ornias said:

I want ala carte. There are maybe, maybe, 5 channels I would pay for. I will not pay for any channels that also want to stream commercials to me. I cut the cord 12 years ago and have not missed any shows that I want to watch. Hulu, Netflix etc. will usually get me what I want. Football can be watched...I would happily pay a reasonable rate just for the season pass. 

Agreed. As various streaming options become available at a fraction of the price of traditional cable/satellite ultimately I think they'll be forced to go more and more that direction. Your monthly bill is subsidizing a ton of channels you literally never watch. The same is true for streaming services, but the cost is much lower.

I haven't had cable or satellite in years now. I have Netflix and Amazon Prime but honestly, I had Amazon Prime for years before I utilized their streaming services so as far as television I basically consider it free.

It's 2021 and the internet is still undefeated. If you wanna watch sports online, you can. Sadly enough, ESPN (the self proclaimed world wide leader in sports) has the WORST streaming services imaginable. Hell, I end up watching a lot of the their stuff elsewhere simply because the pirate streams actually work better than theirs. That's pathetic.

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1 hour ago, LinvilleGorge said:

Agreed. As various streaming options become available at a fraction of the price of traditional cable/satellite ultimately I think they'll be forced to go more and more that direction. Your monthly bill is subsidizing a ton of channels you literally never watch. The same is true for streaming services, but the cost is much lower.

 

Except Discovery+ and HBOMax have determined that they can't compete with Netflix and Amazon, so they're merging forces into a single package deal (similar to the Disney+/Hulu/ESPN package, I suppose)

I see more broadcaster (heh, "content providers") doing more consolidation until we have streaming-only packages that will be (roughly) the same price as what you originally had with a traditional cable bill.  The only difference is that by separating out to smaller (but still separate) packages, that will give you some concept of ala cart.

Only want ESPN+ during football season? Done.


Need Paramount+ for The MTV Challenge? Gotcha covered.


Discovery keeps adding more and more exclusive content across their entire library of channels? Can't easily pick only HGTV for a cheap price, might as well get all of them.

Presto - you now have a cable bill again.
 

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47 minutes ago, PanthersATL said:

Except Discovery+ and HBOMax have determined that they can't compete with Netflix and Amazon, so they're merging forces into a single package deal (similar to the Disney+/Hulu/ESPN package, I suppose)

I see more broadcaster (heh, "content providers") doing more consolidation until we have streaming-only packages that will be (roughly) the same price as what you originally had with a traditional cable bill.  The only difference is that by separating out to smaller (but still separate) packages, that will give you some concept of ala cart.

Only want ESPN+ during football season? Done.


Need Paramount+ for The MTV Challenge? Gotcha covered.


Discovery keeps adding more and more exclusive content across their entire library of channels? Can't easily pick only HGTV for a cheap price, might as well get all of them.

Presto - you now have a cable bill again.
 

Except that will just drive people right back into streaming things illegally through a VPN. The vast majority of stuff is not worth watching, let alone having to pay to watch it. Add the endless stupid commercials and you are right back to not watching anything again. 

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51 minutes ago, Ornias said:

Add the endless stupid commercials and you are right back to not watching anything again. 

Broadcast TV isn't free (it hasn't been since.... well, practically forever).

*somebody* has to pay for the creation of the content. If not advertising, then how? 


season 10 episode 23 GIF

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19 minutes ago, PanthersATL said:

Broadcast TV isn't free (it hasn't been since.... well, practically forever).

*somebody* has to pay for the creation of the content. If not advertising, then how? 


season 10 episode 23 GIF

They create content for people to watch and then charge us to watch the content and put up with commercials. I will do one or the other. I will not pay to then also be forced to waste 33% of the show time on commercials. The content they are producing, across the board, is trash imo. Like I stated I cut the cord over a decade ago and haven't regretted it once. 

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1 hour ago, Ornias said:

They create content for people to watch and then charge us to watch the content and put up with commercials. 

Content creators are focused on reaching a particular target audience. It's that target audience that's being sold.

CBS has a particular demographic vs MTV's demographic.
NPR podcast listeners have a particular demographic vs Joe Rogan's podcast.

The advertisers aren't buying into the content - they're buying into the audience that is being targeted.

A production company (whether it be Warner Brothers' FRIENDS, or Sony's JEOPARDY, or Dreamwork's VOLTRON .. whatever) sells the program to a network/channel with the right demographics to be distributed. That's how the production gets paid. Now it's up to the network/channel to make their money by selling advertising (or whatever else it takes to recoup their investment costs).

SURVIVOR costs, let's say, $1m per episode. If they can get an in-show sponsorship, like Burger King, to provide some prizes and possibly lower the overall episode costs, then that's more money for the production that doesn't go to the network.

Local channels get paid by the cable companies to be carried; that's why you often see local channels taken off the air during payment disputes -- the station wants to be fairly paid for their news production and their network licenses, while the carrier is trying to make money by paying out less in carriage fees.

One way or the other, someone is going to get paid for the content creation; tools/technology/talent/TIME isn't free. If it's not advertising, then what?

One way or the other, the ISPs are going to get paid for carrying that data to your house, whether it be through excess bandwidth charges or via cable fees.   As broadband usage goes up with higher-and-higher quality streams, the days of low-cost monthly all-you-can-eat high speed bandwidth plans are going to go away.

Switching to mobile-only from broadband (5G and up) isn't going to help either - you'll just get your connection throttled.  You'll still have access, it just won't be at high speeds.

I don't have solutions to the above - but somebody is going to end up paying something. I'd rather it be the advertisers than it come out of my own pocket if given a choice.

(disclaimer: I'd rather pay the extra $2/month for Hulu+ commercial free than sit through the 2m of commercials in a Hulu program -- at least Hulu and others give that option)

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Posted (edited)

If you make less than about $99 k a year for single filers and $198k for joint and lost income due to the pandemic, the government will pay about $50 a month of your internet bill directly to your service provider every month for the next few months ( has yet to be determined how long this will last but I am guessing about 6 months)  it is pretty easy to apply and get approved but will take about and houur of your time filling out and transmitting various paperwork.  

It free money if you qualify 

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (getemergencybroadband.org)

Edited by Paa Langfart
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