I’ve never paid for cable or satellite TV – and, barring some amazing feat by the pay-TV industry, I likely never will. All my news and culture comes from the Internet and local newspapers and radio, and I get my entertainment from the Internet, streaming services, and my good friend Netflix. I’m what some people are calling a “cord never,” and apparently, the pay-TV industry’s terrified of me.
The industry’s fears are quite legitimate. Ad Age reports that 2013 will probably be the first year ever that the number of pay-TV subscriptions will decline, and it’s all thanks to us cord nevers, as well as cord cutters – those who’ve ditched their cable packages for cheaper alternatives. Apparently subscriptions will be declining from last year’s 100.9 million to 100.8 million, but still. It’s progress.
As streaming services like Netflix and Hulu become more ubiquitous, it’s becoming harder for cable companies and satellite providers to convince people to pay for their services. A growing segment of the population is unwilling to pay high monthly prices for five channels they watch and 300 they don’t. And, since landlines are increasingly being abandoned in favor of cell phones, bundled packages have become less appealing. People who watch live sports still have a reason to have satellite, but I’m optimistic that’ll change soon enough.
Being a cord never has its downsides. For example, I’ve spent the past few weeks driving to my parents’ house, which is forty minutes away, every Sunday night to catch Breaking Bad when it airs. (What a millennial thing to do, eh?)
But for the most part, I and all the other cordless folks I know are quite happy to keep our money out of the hands of an industry that continues to push a business model that’s rapidly becoming as hilariously antiquated as those ‘80s brick phones. I mean, having to wait until a particular time to watch a show? Paying for 100 sports channels I’ll never watch? LOL WUT.
The younger generation wants what it wants when it wants it — for a reasonable price. (Try saying that three times fast.) Many of us want to find a great show and binge-watch the crap out of it, rather than watch it on someone else’s terms. While there is a certain excitement to watching a show when it airs (see Breaking Bad, above), for me, the convenience of on-demand will always win. For that, I’m happy to pay $8 a month.
Take heed, television providers.