If recent reports are to be believed, people are fleeing cable subscriptions in droves. One recent study revealed a whopping 25 percent of American homes have cut the cord and no longer rely on cable or satellite television. The trend currently skews a bit younger: Four in 10 homes with a resident ages 18 to 24 have turned to broadcast or internet-only options. Still, all studies show the numbers are climbing across various age groups.
Overwhelmingly, consumers want to choose what they watch -- and they don’t want to pay for additional channels. Why would a die-hard liberal want to pay for Fox News? Likewise, why would anyone on any side of the political spectrum want to pay for MTV?
There are plenty of good reasons to cut the cord. Here are three compelling ones that might provide the incentive you need to start scaling back your cable service.
1. The savings.
It's astoundingly easy to save a little dough here and there by retooling your packages, and those bits and pieces can add up more quickly than you might realize. Some cable or satellite plans start around $60 only for the channels in the bundle. Of course, to get those channels, customers also must rent a cable box ($10-15), pay for an HD video card ($6-8) and fork over cash for all the other little service fees that get tacked on the bill. In no time at all, that monthly fee nears the $100 mark. Even worse, most subscribers pay for a bunch of channels they'll probably never watch.
Consider this: Pay monthly for Netflix ($8) and HBONow ($14.99), and you've got a stellar menu of options for just a bit more than $20. Neither service is contract-based, so you can cancel as soon as the most recent season of "Game of Thrones" ends!
2. Curated content.
One of the best features offered by a service such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video is the system's ability to curate content according to a viewer's tastes. The more you watch, the better the platform gets at matching its suggestions to your viewing habits. Choose a few movies that are generically similar, and the service’s algorithms begin to realize you enjoy “Weird Cerebral Thrillers with a Female Protagonist” -- or whichever category fits your pattern.
I've noticed that my services' suggestions typically are pretty spot on. Most are movies or shows I might not otherwise have given a chance. A fair number are titles I didn't know existed. Cable on-demand services can't (or won't) provide that level of personalization.
Likewise, an increasing number of websites give watchers a monthly update on new content coming to different streaming services. The best sites also give you a heads-up so you know which titles are on the way out. Sites such as Best Stuff Streaming curate all the major platforms with suggestions and blurbs on upcoming shows and movies.
3. Live content is coming.
Many of my friends and family hang on to their subscriptions because they don't want to give up premium sports packages. Even though most in-market games are available via a $20 digital antenna, my loved ones reject the notion of saying goodbye to their precious NFL Network and their round-the-clock programming of people yelling about sports.
Lucky for them, things are changing. ESPN, NBA Network, NFL Redzone and many other premium sports channels currently are available through SlingTV. Thursday Night Football soon is coming to Amazon. And it’s not only sports. Sling TV (and others) are offering live television from a plethora of channels, giving you the freedom to see all your favorite series as they air.
While the entirety of America might not be ready for cord-cutting, the practice surely is growing at an exponential rate. It's more than a proven way to save money. It puts the power of choice back in consumers' hands. Even those not yet ready to give up on their monthly plans can agree that's a very good thing.