Working full-time, purchasing a new home and painting the entire said new home means when I am done for the day, I wind down by curling up on the couch, relaxing with a glass of wine and catching up on some of my addictively dramatic TV shows. The goal, of course, is to not think and immerse myself in someone else’s drama – even if it is just for an hour. Painting a whole house with just your fiancé may seem like a crazy idea, but when you are as frugal as I am, you will do whatever it takes to save money when and where you can. This leads me to the whole reason I am writing this blog – the inevitable death of cable TV providers.
How do we know it is coming? Hop online and read ANY reviews you can find – they are all the same. Terrible customer service, double billing, raising rates without telling the customer, service interruptions – the list goes on and on. BUT, most important are the hundreds (no, thousands) of complaints on how much cable TV providers are charging for their services. It’s outrageous! Their idea of bundling is providing you with hundreds of channels you don’t watch and a home phone that only the telemarketers are calling you on.
So what is the cable TV industry planning to do to keep their subscribers on the hook? Evolve or die – just ask Blockbuster. Netflix and Redbox secured the inevitable death of Blockbuster. Blockbuster knew it was coming, but they chose not to listen to the consumer trends. For a generation used to waiting for NOTHING, making us twiddle our thumbs for over a month waiting for a movie that was available on VOD services or streaming online is not a sustainable business model. These new online streaming services brought the instant gratification desired by their consumers, and it paid off big.
Some cable providers are grasping at straws – take AT&T’s recent U-Verse package that includes broadband, a smaller channel lineup, HBO and a full subscription to Amazon Prime. So this idea of letting subscriber’s custom order their cable packages instead of feeding us hundreds of channels we don’t care about paves the way to a future of smart bundling that can keep AT&T and the other major players in the game.
But they have to watch their back. Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix and other streaming services are creating the full digital experience and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg a month to enjoy them. Amazon Prime – which I just finished a free trial of and plan to purchase the yearly membership – gives you unlimited streaming of movies, TV shows and music; unlimited photo storage; free eBooks and free 2 day shipping with no order minimum! For $99 a year, THAT is a deal I can work with. So before locking yourself into a contract for the next 1-2 years, see what’s out there, do the research, or if you aren’t ready to make the big switch don’t be afraid to threaten your cable provider with cancellation to get that “good deal.”