Dennis D. McDonald (ddmcd@ddmcd.com) consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Has the Golden Age of Cord-Cutting Already Passed Us By?

Has the Golden Age of Cord-Cutting Already Passed Us By?

By Dennis D. McDonald

Perhaps cord cutting isn’t just a matter of choice concerning media consumption but a path to an improved quality of life.

The reality of cord cutting is finally settling in as streaming services proliferate with their bundles of programming.

It’s becoming clear that dropping cable TV and going “all Internet” for accessing video programming isn’t going to automatically save the customer money. No matter which popular streaming services we subscribe to, there always seems to be one or more desired channels that “force” you to another service tier.

We found this out recently ourselves when we discovered that YouTube TV has every needed local and “cable” channel we wanted as part of its basic monthly package—except for PBS.

Also, no matter which bundled service you examine, cable or streaming via the Internet, there always seemsto be channels you neither need nor want but have to pay for as part of the bundle. This was true with basic cable. To get what we wanted from cable, for example, we always had to go with the tier that included useless-for-us sports programming. The same is true for internet based streaming services that include reality shows, shopping shows, and reruns. (Granted, everyone’s tastes are different. I don’t watch ABC News or Fox News but I do know people whodo.)

As far as I can tell the supposed benefits of “cord cutting” or “cable cutting”—paying only for what you want and when you want it—are no longer a reality, assuming they ever were. The cost for multiple sources adds up. The silver lining may be that we can at least rid ourselves of the plethora of extra equipment charges the cable TV slaps on top of basic service (and the boxes themselves). 

But the single service that offers everything you want and only one you wants? That will probably never happen. There are just too many interlocking fingers in media production-and-distribution cycles with power now being concentrated into a few huge horizontally and or vertically integrated services. 

The “golden age” of cord cutting may have already passed us by. Maybe that’s OK. There’s a limit to how much and how many media services any of us really “needs.”

That’s certainly the case for me and my wife. We’re busy people. Vegging out in front of a screen is a real luxury for us given work, family, housekeeping, and everything else. Plus, there are so many books to read or listen to!

Perhaps cord cutting isn’t just a matter of choice concerning media consumption but a path to an improved quality of life.

Copyright © 2019 by Dennis D. McDonald

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