I recently went through my annual ritual with the cable company that goes something like this:
Me: My promotions just ran out. Do you have any new ones?
Cable Company: Nope sorry, we’re all out of deals.
Me: OK, I guess I’m going to have to cut the cord and cancel my plan then.
Cable Company: You know what, let me transfer you to our client retention department.
[transferring…on hold for like 17 minutes]
Client Retention: Hi Mr. Carlson. It looks like you’ve been a valuable customer for a number of years. Let me see what I can do for you…
Every year when I go through this song and dance it seems the deals get better and better. Maybe they’re just sick of losing people to cord-cutting.
I will be the last man on earth to give up my cable and here’s why — I love TV. Give me all the channels. Movies, sports, HGTV, I want it all. Do I need it all? No but you never know where the next hit is going to come from.
Yellowstone is on Paramount. What is Paramount? No clue, but I have it.
The NCAA Tournament is on TruTV. What is TruTV? No clue, but I have it.
But there is another reason I’m not going to be cutting the cord until they rip it from my cold, dead hands — it’s a better deal for my TV consumption habits.
This is because the cable companies still have a monopoly on internet coverage in most areas. That means you’re going to be paying somewhere in the ballpark of $50-$70/month for internet right off the bat even if you don’t use their cable service. Then you have to add a TV service on top of that from the likes of Hulu Live or YouTube.
Hulu Live with no ads plus DVR capabilities is around $85/month. YouTube TV is more like $65/month. So that gets you to somewhere in the range of $115-$155/month all in depending on which one you choose.
But I love TV and the cheapest option, YouTube TV, only has 85 channels and that doesn’t include any movie channels or premium sports packages. If you wanted HBO Max that’s an additional $14.99/month. Starz, Showtime or Cinemax would be an additional $9.99/month a piece.
Add it all up and now it’s even more expensive than the cable bundle. Yes you get the street cred of telling all of your friends you cut the cord but you’re not actually saving any money.
My recent AT&T Uverse negotiation netted out a monthly cost of a little more than $120/month. That includes internet, phone and 300-400 TV channels PLUS the sports channels, (MLB network, NBA network, 12 different ESPNs, 19 Fox Sports stations, etc.) AND the movie channels (HBO, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax).
So I get the smorgasbord of channels, all of the premium movie options and the sports options for less than what it would cost if I cut the cable and did one of the internet TV deals.
And we haven’t even gotten into all of the other streaming options (Netflix, Prime, Paramount+, Peacock, Disney+, Apple TV+, etc.).
You can expect to see the number of streaming channels increase even more in the years ahead before we finally see some consolidation in the space. At that point there will be so many monthly subscriptions you’re going to end up paying more for the a la carte method than simply sticking it out with your cable/internet provider.
Basically, there are now so many options to choose from that the good old cable bundle everyone has been complaining about for years is now your best option to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Am I the world’s greatest negotiator? That’s debatable. I chalk this up to a combination of my love for cable and my willingness to pretend I’m going to cut the cord once a year.
I remain steadfast in my dedication to keeping the triple play bundle in my house until the cable companies finally call my bluff.
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