Is PlayStation Vue Really Cord Cutting?

Want to see a misleading story. Google something along the lines of Watch _____ without paying for cable. Watch ESPN without paying for cable etc. What you usually find is someone writing an article about a service like PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now or one of the handful of other streaming services that offer a very cable like experience without a contract.

The misleading part is not that you can not get the advertised offering, the problem is that it is playing on people’s hope that the service being pushed is either free or a stand alone offering. For instance, HBO Now is a way to get HBO without cable just on its own.

What people are doing when they promote these services as ways to watch a channel without cable is pushing a “Skinny” bundle of channels. Skinny bundles are starting to be offered by a number of companies, even cable companies. Most offering out there average around $30.00-$4o.00. That is a great savings if your cable bill alone costs over $100.00. What it is not though is some sort of A-la-cart offering. And that is what is implied when you see a headline like get ESPN without cable.

Advantages to Skinny bundles include:

  1. No contracts
  2. (Typically) More package options
  3. More uniform experience Mobile VS TV

Disadvantages can include

  1. No guaranty of all of your “local” networks
  2. There can still be specific channels not offered
  3. Inconsistency in the lineups
  4. Some services just fall off the map all at once

The best bets for a service with lasting power would be ones from established TV entities which is why I like Sling TV (Dish), and DirecTV Now (ATT). Hulu, which is owned by Disney, FOX and Comcast may well prove to be a good long run bet for obvious reasons too. Others including even YouTube TV and PlayStation Vue just seem like they could drop off because TV is not the primary part of their parent companies business.

Either way, think before you click out there. I don’t like click bait and try to avoid headlines that can be taken that way. Other “observers” of the streaming world are not quite the same.