There are some out there who consider themselves champions of cord cutters. More power to them. But there comes a time when advocacy takes a turn towards the odd. And when we see it we have to call it.
What we are talking about is the idea of identifying anti cord-cutting stories or even worse anti cord cutting propaganda. I see this term from time to time when a publication puts out a story that says cord-cutting is more expensive than you think or talking about difficulties people have when they try it. Things like that. From time to time you will see a report on a local news channel where someone says things like If you sign up for this, this and that you can start to get pretty close to a monthly cable bill. Or someone will say that a feature found on cable like DVR can not be replicated without it. The most common incorrect information I see is quoting “the average” cable bill bundled with Internet. All of this leads to miss information. But the truth of the matter is that it is not coordinated and intentional. It is often the product of a person being assigned to a topic that they have to learn about quickly on a deadline. This is quite different that a person who runs a website dedicated to streaming and cord cutting.
The idea that there is some sort of anti cord-cutting propaganda movement seems to be something based on serious misunderstanding of the word propaganda. For something truly be propaganda it would have to be at some sort of level where vested interest put the information out to the public specifically to change or influence their point of view or control their thinking. Some may call that advertising. You would also have to believe that multiple organizations were working in concert.
At this point with no proof that the cable TV industry is specifically putting together propaganda against not having cable. And without true evidence using terms like propaganda and or accusing news organizations of working in concert with cable companies to push their point of view is dangerous language to play with.
As someone who has followed this industry for a long time I have seen the ebb and flow of interest in cord cutting. I have also watched the traditional television industry has viewed it. There was a point where executives didn’t even think anybody was really canceling cable for any given reason. Now they acknowledge that it happens and have begun to react by increasing other features of their services. in some cases there are even efforts to offer stream skinny bundle services of their own. They also point out the overall strength of their options, DVR, ease of use etc.
That being said I have a hard time believing that say Comcast pays reporters just say that streaming and cord cutting is expensive. I have a hard time believing that they’re putting out numerous press releases and running some sort of fake news scheme to convince people that Hulu offers less channels than a big Cable Bundle. I’m afraid the math is there to support the argument without any conspiracy involved.
A good friend of mine who was setting up my new office told me about his cord-cutting experience.
He got frustrated with the cost and without doing much research cut cable. He got a streaming device increased his internet bandwidth and signed up with AT&T DirecTV Now. Within a few months lack of certain channels drove into Hulu because he felt it would be the best app for his sports fix. Hulu offered all the sports channels he wanted but he said that the programming was completely uneven.
For instance when it came to football, he said games would return from commercial breaks in the middle of the third play of a drive instead of at the beginning of the possession. And that sometimes everything would pause. He found the whole experience annoying and uneven and has since signed back up for a cable package doing so before the sports season hit high gear.
I don’t know how many people have an experience like that and there isn’t a lot of research on people who cut cable and then go back. But it illustrates the reason why a lot of people have not done so. Because like it or not having a cable like streaming service is really not the same as having a cable service.
Most of the streaming services like DirecTV Now and PlayStation Vue have adjusted their packages a number of times in the past 2 years. They play the same game as the cable companies by moving things from one tier to another, they drop programming and networks over disputes just like the cable industry and have been increasing their prices along the way.
It is not a ridiculous thing that people who currently have cable stick with the devil they know instead of jumping into something they don’t understand. For all of the belly aching you hear from long time cable subscribers, most are entrenched in habit.
Keep in mind, I’m hardly an advocate for traditional cable. I haven’t had it in 7 years. Simply put, I just don’t feel like the content found on most cable channels is something that benefits me. But there’s nothing wrong with loving the sorts of things you find on cable whether it’s reality shows or whatever floats your boat. What people enjoy on TV is very personal and if a certain show really works for someone and they’re used to being able to see it a certain way than all the advocacy for other methods of approaching it are going to fall on deaf ears.
Even more a problem for those looking for a change is that those cable replacement streaming services have not found a way to fully incorporate local channels / major broadcast networks completely into their services.
When you consider the amount of content taken in from that works like ABC CBS and NBC and FOX including NFL football which typically dominates the TV ratings it’s very easy to see why a large segment of the population feels like they don’t want to give it. So before people go off half-cocked talking about a cable cabal take a step back and think about just how many people would have to be party to spreading propaganda about table versus streaming and consider the fact that maybe some people just have a different perspective.