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Television Businesses Communications Network The Almighty Buck The Internet Technology

Cable TV 'Failing' As a Business, Cable Industry Lobbyist Says (arstechnica.com) 185

According to a cable lobbyist group, cable TV is "failing" as a business due to rising programming costs and consumers switching from traditional TV subscriptions to online video streaming. "As a business, it is failing," said Matthew Polka, CEO of the American Cable Association (ACA). "It is very, very difficult for a cable operator in many cases to even break even on the cable side of the business, which is why broadband is so important, giving consumers more of a choice that we can't give them on cable [TV]." Ars Technica reports: The ACA represents about 750 small and mid-sized cable operators who serve about seven million customers throughout the US. The ACA has also been one of the primary groups fighting broadband regulations, such as net neutrality and online privacy rules, and a now-dead set-top box proposal that would have helped cable TV subscribers watch the channels they subscribe to without a rented set-top box. "The cable business isn't what it used to be because of the high costs," Polka said, pointing to the amount cable TV companies pay programmers for sports, broadcast programming via retransmission consent fees, and other programming. When asked about cord cutting, Polka said, "it's the video issue of our time as consumers learn they have choice" from services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. "It gives consumers more choice, something that they've wanted for a long time, more control from the bundle of cable linear programming," Polka said. "Our members, however, I think are very aggressive in how they are trying to provide consumers that they serve with more choice through on-demand [channels], through availability of over-the-top services, making sure that their broadband plan is fast enough to support a consumer's video habits. So, yes, it's a thing that's happening today, cord cutting, cord shaving. But as an industry, our members are well primed to be able to serve their customers with their broadband service that allows them to consume the video they want."
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Cable TV 'Failing' As a Business, Cable Industry Lobbyist Says

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  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @09:08PM (#54556053)

    From the article (emphasis mine):

    Our members, however, I think are very aggressive in how they are trying to provide consumers that they serve with more choice through on-demand [channels], through availability of over-the-top services, making sure that their broadband plan is fast enough to support a consumer's video habits.

    As someone with 100/60 service at home (via cable) and 1.3/384k at my lake home, both with no data caps, I can offer up the tidbit that speed is far less important than the extra revenue stream cable providers are attempting to get through bandwidth capping.

    Netflix works just fine at 1.3/384k (Amazon less so) but I certainly don't need to have 100/60 service just to watch VOD while knowing I may hit my cap if I decide to download 5 or 6 concert torrents on top of my regular usage levels.

    Let's dispel with the notion that cable companies know anything about what their customers want and understand all they care about is profit for their shareholders. We don't necessary need faster, we just need truly limitless, like it always has been.

    • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @09:33PM (#54556269)

      There are alternatives to unlimited which work just as well. The provider I'm with offers a 200gb limit, but only measures your usage during the day. Any downloads scheduled between midnight and 8 am don't count towards your usage.

      They also offer unlimited for an extra $10 a month on top of your normal plan, but if you're really only worried about going over your cap because of a few extra torrent downloads, you can save $120 a year by just scheduling your downloads outside of prime usage hours.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Any downloads scheduled between midnight and 8 am don't count towards your usage.

        Which major PC and mobile operating systems' network connection settings provide a way to express this metering policy, such that your Ethernet connection to your router becomes metered at 8 AM and no longer metered at midnight?

        • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

          Which major PC and mobile operating systems' network connection settings provide a way to express this metering policy, such that your Ethernet connection to your router becomes metered at 8 AM and no longer metered at midnight?

          None, because the metering would be done by the ISP's own hardware, not by the customer's computer (for reasons that should be obvious).

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            I was referring to the policy option in Windows and Android not to perform some background downloads over connections that the operating system believes to be metered. (See metered connections in Windows [microsoft.com] and metered connections in Android [androidcentral.com].) Which operating systems offer a way to make the operating system believe the connection to be metered only during certain hours?

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            the metering would be done by the ISP's own hardware

            What service does the ISP offer to subscribers to query the metering schedule that its own hardware applies to a particular connection?

        • The OP mentions, among other things, using torrents to download recordings of concerts. Every torrent client I've ever used includes configuring it to work only during specified hours, along with putting a cap on the bandwidth used at certain times of day. Using that, you can throttle your client to a rate low enough to avoid the cap, except between midnight and 8 AM, to work around your carrier's data limits.
          • Every torrent client I've ever used includes configuring it to work only during specified hours

            I was referring to the lack of such a setting for things other than torrent clients, such as operating system updaters. See, for example, how caps affect users of Windows [techrepublic.com].

        • Don't most of the downloaders have a setting for this? Transmission does.

        • > Which major PC and mobile operating systems' network connection settings
          > provide a way to express this metering policy, such that your Ethernet connection
          > to your router becomes metered at 8 AM and no longer metered at midnight?

          Linux and BSD, i.e. "man cron" and "man at".

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            The cron tool can be used to run a command at a given time, provided that the computer is on and the command exists.

            The computer is on
            This answer by jeff on Server Fault [serverfault.com] states that cron runs only if the computer is on, not if it is shut down or asleep. This means that if the computer is on at midnight but off at 8 AM, the policy will get set to not metered at midnight but not set back to metered at 8 AM. A tool that runs missed jobs after restart or resume exists, called anacron [wikipedia.org], but it doesn't handle tas
        • Which major PC and mobile operating systems' network connection settings provide a way to express this metering policy

          My current router, which is low end, offers settings like this out of the box (no replacing the firmware.) You can throttle by time period, day of week, mac address, even by the underlying ip protocal (tcp or udp.)

          300M Wireless N Router Model No. TL-WR940N / TL-WR941ND

          In any event, the choice to not use bandwidth during certain times is a lifestyle choice and should be easy to maintain if you really want to do it. If in actuality you think that the extra $x per month is worth less than the "costs" of l

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I avoid ISPs with any kind of cap because in my experience even if you don't exceed the limit, they are total crap in terms of consistency and latency. The reason they need a cap is because they are selling a bargain basement low cost service with the absolute minimum provision they can get away with.

        I pay very slightly more for an unlimited provider and the difference is night and day. I get full speed and low pings all day every day.

        • Your advice is often correct, however it doesn't apply in this case. I switched over from an "unlimited" provider which was throttling my bandwidth every day between 6pm and 11pm. With the new provider in getting speeds slightly higher than advertised, and never throttled.

          The other side of the coin is that I find "unlimited" providers often throttle at prime times, or if you exceed some unlisted daily limit. They do this because they're overselling their capacity and don't actually expect you to downloa

    • We also expect it to work.

      This is why I am no longer a Comcast customer and put up with DSL which at least where I live seems to work 10 times more reliably.

      Of course, the DSL is a bit slower, but it's more than enough to support my needs.

    • Netflix works just fine at 1.3/384k... We don't necessary need faster, we just need truly limitless, like it always has been.

      At the same time, if you're happy with low-bitrate streams, that can also help to take care of the "limitless" part. If cable companies cap your bandwidth, Netflix could just give you the option to watch streams at a low enough bitrate that you're unlikely to hit your cap. You could listen to all your concerts at 64 kbps audio to cut down on your usage, since you don't care about quality.

      That's not to say caps are ok, just to say that your post is short-sighted. The amount of data we shove around is eve

      • Exactly.

        In bandwidth terms, 3 mbps is easily enough for a single video stream at a "full" 1080p. Of course homes often have more than 1 person living in them, so lets say 12 mbps is enough for 4 "HD" video streams. It wasnt so long ago that the only video you could get inexpensively on or off the internet was more like 480p. Surely DVD quality is good enough for the low end consumer, right? A couple "DVD quality" streams can easily be done in under 4 mbit with todays codecs.

        Low end connections are suppo
        • Of course people want faster connections. Duh. Want isnt need tho.

          Ehhh... I mean, we don't "need" very much, in hunter/gatherer terms. Do I need a fast Internet connection? I suppose not, in that I wouldn't suddenly starve to death. But I also don't "need" any Internet or TV whatsoever.

          But once you get past that kind of argument, the distinction between "want" and "need" get really fuzzy. Do I "need" a fast Internet connection? Well no, I could give up on the idea of 4K video. I could be completely unproductive at work. I could forget about streaming an kind of me

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @09:16PM (#54556117) Journal

    It's the same pattern as VOIP: it's redundant to have one infrastructure network for one kind of information and a different for another. The Internet is clearly more flexible than cable (at least potentially more flexible) because you can select from myriads of content providers rather than just the forced bundles of channels that oligopolies love to offer.

    Cable co's should get with the times rather than play games to hold the clock back. The cable co's can rework their strategy to provide local buffering services for content providers, for example, so that the bytes of popular shows don't have to travel as far.

    • you can select from myriads of content providers rather than just the forced bundles of channels that oligopolies love to offer.

      For the moment.

  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @09:16PM (#54556125)

    If cable companies stopped buying the expensive sport (or put it into a "sports" package and charged extra for it) then maybe they might not be loosing money on their cable operations as much as they do now.

    • Make ESPN an HBO like add on local RSN as well.

      Make it like HBO and MAX. Where at times you can get a deal for HBO + MAX but you can also just get HBO or MAX.

    • by jeff4747 ( 256583 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @10:41PM (#54556649)

      The cable company's can't. Disney insists they buy ESPN as well as a host of other channels as a package. Thus the cable companies do not have the option to skip ESPN unless they're willing to also lose a whole lot of other channels (such as ABC, A&E and it's descendants, Lifetime and its descendants)

      Previously, this was used as leverage to force cable companies to carry those other channels if they want ESPN. But that leverage works both ways.

      • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

        The cable company's can't. Disney insists they buy ESPN as well as a host of other channels as a package. Thus the cable companies do not have the option to skip ESPN unless they're willing to also lose a whole lot of other channels (such as ABC, A&E and it's descendants, Lifetime and its descendants)

        Sound like you're saying they can; they just need to try it. Have an offering which excludes all of Disney's stuff. Then have "add all of Disney's channels for $n" optional add-on. This puts the information

  • nobody just comes out and says their business is failing. He's up to something. Something awful enough to throw his entire industry under the bus.
  • Here's a strange thing: cable companies pay for the content on their wire (retransmission fees).

    Why are there ads on that wire if the subscriber is paying for the content already?

    • Yeah, cable companies competed up the price of television, particularly sport.

      NFL players would play for less than $155 million per team, and they will in the future...

    • Because it's more profitable to have ads on top of subscriber fees. Cable in the very early days was commercial free, but that idea died once they realized people would tolerate paying fees while watching ads.
    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

      Here's a strange thing: cable companies pay for the content on their wire (retransmission fees).

      Why are there ads on that wire if the subscriber is paying for the content already?

      Because the channels they are retransmitting are not charging 100% of their cost+ profit to the cable nets in retrans fees. If you are up for paying double to triple for your cable then cool, let the cable companies know right away and they will pass it on to the networks!

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        If you are up for paying double to triple for your cable then cool, let the cable companies know right away

        Both Hulu and CBS All Access offer an ad-free option at not quite double the price of the pay-to-watch-commercials tier. When I quote the prices of Hulu and CBS All Access to others considering cutting the cord, I mention the ad-free price, not the paying-to-watch-commercials price.

        • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

          If you are up for paying double to triple for your cable then cool, let the cable companies know right away

          Both Hulu and CBS All Access offer an ad-free option at not quite double the price of the pay-to-watch-commercials tier. When I quote the prices of Hulu and CBS All Access to others considering cutting the cord, I mention the ad-free price, not the paying-to-watch-commercials price.

          Those don't work as counter-examples because 99% of the content on both has already run on their respective networks and captured their ad revenues. However if you want to consider CBS All Access, consider the fact that it is one channel out of dozens that are on most even basic cable packages. The ad free tier is $10 a month, and that is for a service that is showing all but 2 shows that already have their first run ad capture.

    • Retransmission fees pay for only a portion of the cost of acquiring programming. Advertisements also pay for only a portion. Only when combined do they cover the entire cost. If there were no ads, retransmission fees would rise to make cable TV bills several times larger than they are.

  • Crazy idea! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @09:26PM (#54556211)

    How about they start pitching a version of cable, stripped down to a few channels, each actually meaningful and with varied programming, with NO COMMERCIALS in exchange for the subscription costs... you know, like it all started out?

    Hey, I said it was a crazy idea. But why is it crazy? I mean, they're mostly internet companies now anyway, so any television income could be small, and they'd be fine, as long as they cut back enough for expenses to be below income.

    That proposal would be crazy, because of stockholders. The demand for increased return, increased promises, increased control, guaranteed income with increasing percentage numbers. It's what makes all US publicly traded companies turn to crap over time.

    It's basically the wisdom of mutual fund managers that demand cable, and other companies act like they do. And the giant pile of investment money behind them, looking for safe, guaranteed returns, and pushing everything to serve that, and only that.

    It's also why commercials suck so much too, and why so many folks like me stopped watching/subscribing to cable years ago. It really is dumbfounding to visit folks watching commercials, and see those messages celebrating the happiness of paying rent to those companies paying for airtime.

    Ryan Fenton

    • Re:Crazy idea! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by No Longer an AC ( 4611353 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2017 @01:48AM (#54557327) Journal

      How about they start pitching a version of cable, stripped down to a few channels, each actually meaningful and with varied programming, with NO COMMERCIALS in exchange for the subscription costs... you know, like it all started out?

      Is that how it started out?

      I thought it started out as a way to provide community access to television initially in rural areas far from broadcast towers. When it hit my area the big advantages that I remember being touted were a perfect picture and not having to fiddle with the antenna anymore. We also got a few more channels like TBS and WGN but those still had commercials.

      The channels that didn't show commercials were always premium channels like HBO and Cinemax.

      Maybe this commercial free cable utopia existed before my time, but I've never seen evidence of it.

      Who is going to curate these commercial free channels? Well, obviously it's companies like Netflix and Amazon. (TV that I actually am still willing to pay for).

      I can't think of any reason for cable TV to exist anymore. The most common reason cited is content, but that's not a technical problem. Can cable do anything that a good internet connection cannot?

    • Or maybe they could just stop double dipping. The cable is already run to my house and I already pay a substantial amount for internet access. Why insist on charging me more just to watch commercials? Charge extra for a set top box if you like but don't require it.

      Not that I, personally, will ever go back to watching commercials..... But it seems like it would help retain some cable customers, esp. sports fans.
    • TV without commercials would cost more, the only way people will pay for that is a la carte, but neither the content owners nor the cable companies want that. Therefore they will kick and scream right up until the point they get thrown out the door.

      • TV without commercials would cost more....

        Or, it could actually cost less in the long run.

        I seriously struggle to understand the value-add of commercials these days, with all of the (commercial-free) cord cutting going on, as well as a large majority of consumers watching time-shifted content in order to fast forward through the damn commercials they now despise. Where and how exactly is revenue still being generated from commercials to justify the effort or the cost involved?

        Personally, I can't wait until the industry gets a financial gut-check f

    • Re:Crazy idea! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ausekilis ( 1513635 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2017 @09:01AM (#54558779)

      I had a few ideas about why Cable TV is failing, and of course others had the same idea.

      1. Commercials - Time [time.com] has an article about the trend over the years for more commercials per hour. The article has a 2014 date, so we're talking an increase in almost a minute per hour over 5 years.

        On cable, commercials are even more frequent, totalling 15 minutes and 38 seconds of each hour. Commercials on cable took 14 minutes and 27 seconds of each hour in 2009.

      2. Content - We've all complained about how much Reality TV just plain sucks. There's a nice write-up onOregon State's sociology 499 class site [oregonstate.edu] (of all places) that mentions ER set a record for $13Mil per episode, while a half hour reality show can cost more like $150k.
      3. Cost - Of course we the consumer complain about a steady increase in cost for little gain (another grass growing channel? really?), we don't often look at how much things cost for companies. Sports Illustrated [si.com] has a nice breakdown of costs to run a 30 second ad during the super bowl. The growth is damned near exponential and was somewhere on the order of $5mil this year, and $3mil in 2010.

      Basically, it's all in the pursuit of the almighty dollar. Commercials have gotten longer and more expensive, while production costs have been driven lower and lower. If only there was some way en masse to stop making stupid people famous...

    • How about they start pitching a version of cable, stripped down to a few channels, each actually meaningful and with varied programming, with NO COMMERCIALS in exchange for the subscription costs... you know, like it all started out?

      I find it funny, now, to think about how it all started. The reason you had channels called things like "The SciFi Channel" or "Comedy Central" or "Music Television" was cable packages basically had a scifi channel, a comedy channel, and a music channel. It's like, "Oh, you want some comedy? Put on Comedy Central. It's recordings of stand-up comedy, 24x7. You want music? We have a channel of music videos, again, 24x7."

      Sorry, I'm going off topic.

      I think the real change is going to be when they simply

  • by Anonymous Coward

    and I've only had cable for three weeks! Also, I originally called to order $39.95 per month Internet access, but they talked me into adding basic cable TV for only $10 per month more. After "HD Technology Fees," taxes, other fees, and HD cable box rental, my bill is now over $90 per month. That $10 per month is damn expensive. Cable companies are doing it to themselves.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Monday June 05, 2017 @09:40PM (#54556317) Journal

    I'd become a cable subscriber again tomorrow if they just gave up on the fucking bundling. Sell me the channels I want, and don't try to charge me for a bunch of shit that I don't want. It's the lesson that every single content provider should have learned from iTunes, for fuck's sake.

    -jcr

  • I'm about 35 miles outside of Seattle, and get 56 Digital OTA channels. Tell me again why I would want cable? I already have decent content with what is available for free. I was curious about CenturyLink's PrismTV service (TV over IP), but they won't offer it in my area for some reason, despite the fact I'm on their gigabit fiber connection. I can't be their TV customer if they won't let me!

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      I'm about 35 miles outside of Seattle, and get 56 Digital OTA channels. Tell me again why I would want cable?

      You might not. Someone who doesn't happen to live where 56 distinct OTA channels can be received with a store-bought stationary indoor antenna might. I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and I get about a dozen. Do you want me to list them?

  • Pretty much every show, every movie, might take 6 months to get it but you've got it for a week and it doesn't cost a cent.

    Cut the cable, pay the bandwidth cost for the stuff you have to watch *Right Farking Now*, hit the library (or, cough, pirate's bay cough), and fuck paying $5/month to ESPN for a channel you've never watched in your life.
  • Cable TV deserves to fail. Those assholes have overcharged everyone for decades because they had a monopoly on access to content. In another century, every last one of them would be tarred, feathered and run out of town only to die slowly from infection. I have no sympathy for people who gleefully exploit the general population.

  • by SETY ( 46845 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @10:41PM (#54556653)

    My cable company takes all content makes it 720p and compresses the shit out. They then send it out to my 1080p tv and it looks like shit. Netflix looks great. And they wonder why they lose customers? Theyhave a very simple job and They can't even do that right.

    • by mentil ( 1748130 )

      So every switch between commercials, or from commercial to program or back again, causes your TV to switch resolution/framerate? Older TVs go blank for a few seconds when that happens, causing viewers to miss the first few seconds of whatever is now showing. It makes more sense for your cable box to scale to whatever resolution it detects your TV is (or that you set it to use).

    • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

      Yep I totally agree. I can get many of the same channels for free, OTA with an antenna, plus they look MUCH better than the same channel coming in via cable that costs like $50/month.

    • And netflix of course, can deliver all the same content such as news and sports channels, food and travel shows, or say all the shows that AMC or FX have..

    • Let's start by noticing that vast majority of cable providers do not ever promise to deliver 1080p. What they promise is 1080i, which needs to be deinterlaced. 720p and a deinterlaced 1080i basically have the same level of compression. The 1080i basically delivers your TV 1080p at 30fps, and then let the processing to make up the other 30 fps.

  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @11:44PM (#54556917)

    >> "Our members, however, I think are very aggressive in how they are trying to provide consumers that they serve with more choice..."

    No they REALLY haven't, at least here in Phoenix. Cox pretty much have a cable TV monopoly and they haven't done diddly squat, other than renaming their same tired old shit to try and fool people into thinking its some new deal.

    What people REALLY want is to be able to pick and choose individual channels, and not have a cable box at all.

    Cable companies have known this for years, Its perfectly technically possible, but they STILL refuse to give us what we actually want to buy. Their ongoing stupidity/arrogance is exactly what opened the door to companies like Netflix and Hulu in the first place, and they STILL haven't learned.

    Cable's crumbling TV business is ENTIRELY self inflicted.

    • Cable's crumbling TV business is ENTIRELY self inflicted.

      Amen to that. I'm throwing a huge party the day Comcast goes bankrupt.

      >> "Our members, however, I think are very aggressive in how they are trying to provide consumers that they serve with more choice..."

      Your members are, indeed, very agressive. But not in a good way.

  • by theshowmecanuck ( 703852 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2017 @12:53AM (#54557135) Journal
    Reality TV and bullshit program quality is the problem. People can find better quality shows online for the same price or cheaper. The learning channel is now the shit reality TV channel. Same with all of them. Provide a decent product and people will buy it. TV likes to fuck themselves though. Nevermind cancelling Firefly, fix isn't the only one. NBC had a great police procedural called Southland that they cancelled. It was perhaps the best example of that type of show is ever seen. Nope. They put some jackoff talent show instead of some other reality bullshit. Prime examples of network TV failing. Blame shareholder mentality I guess. End of rant.
    • Reality TV and bullshit program quality is the problem. People can find better quality shows online for the same price or cheaper. The learning channel is now the shit reality TV channel. Same with all of them. Provide a decent product and people will buy it...

      The proliferation of Reality TV is driven by ratings.

      When looking for a decent product start demanding society favor an intelligent audience instead of catering to the Honey Boo Boo generation of Kartrashians demanding shit content today.

      • by dj245 ( 732906 )

        Reality TV and bullshit program quality is the problem. People can find better quality shows online for the same price or cheaper. The learning channel is now the shit reality TV channel. Same with all of them. Provide a decent product and people will buy it...

        The proliferation of Reality TV is driven by ratings.

        When looking for a decent product start demanding society favor an intelligent audience instead of catering to the Honey Boo Boo generation of Kartrashians demanding shit content today.

        Potentially untrue depending on the show. Some reality TV shows are basically long-form advertising. "Undercover Boss" is one example, the companies have to pay to be on the show. As long as companies feel they are getting good return on their marketing dollars, such shows will continue to exist. Ratings are still important but only half of the equation. A tv show does not need to survive purely on commercial break advertising if the show itself is sponsored!

        Additionally, sometimes people watch TV to

  • by TheSync ( 5291 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2017 @01:22AM (#54557239) Journal

    This article [marketwatch.com] from January 2017 says: "Comcast Corp. reported better-than-expected financial results and added cable TV customers in the fourth quarter, culminating a strong year in which it added net video customers for the first time in a decade...In the fourth quarter, net income rose to $2.3 billion, or 95 cents a share, up from about $2 billion, or 79 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue grew 9.2% to $21 billion."

    • by enjar ( 249223 )
      Ten years of decline, one year of add. That's a trend that's not Comcastic.
      • by Hydrian ( 183536 )

        Don't worry, Comcast will make it back. Especially now that Tom Wheeler is gone and we have this corporate cronie running the FCC.

  • And this is why cable should have been treated as a monopoly for so many years, as they've been gouging consumers. Now they've got to compete, and don't know how. Competition is good.

    • You mean "should have been treated as a utility"? They are monopolies. A cartel really, as they collude to avoid competition.
  • 750 cable providers with 7 million customers works out to 9,333 customers per cable company.

    These are small businesses trying to get by.

    They don't have the influence of the majors, even 7 million customers combined isn't anything compared to Charter, with over 30 million customers.

    I can certainly understand small players being crushed, it's the American way...

  • by sabbede ( 2678435 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2017 @08:05AM (#54558421)
    "It is very, very difficult for a cable operator in many cases to even break even on the cable side of the business"

    I wonder how many is "many cases". Four?

  • Why is this news? We've known this has been in progress for years. Like the Ice Industry and tailor industry before it, Cable is becoming obsolete because a new, more advanced form of media has superseded it. This is a pattern that repeats itself and John Schumpeter coined the term Creative Destruction [wikipedia.org] to describe the process. When Netflix first came about, Blockbuster had a choice, adapt or not adapt. Blockbuster chose not to adapt and now it's part of human history along with the Ice Industry. It's
  • by enjar ( 249223 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2017 @08:50AM (#54558699) Homepage
    Nearly a decade ago when my wife got laid off we went through the bills and prioritized. The obvious like food, water and shelter were near the top. Cable TV didn't make the cut, but we were more bummed out about losing the house cleaning service. When things turned around, we brought back the house cleaning but have no real need to bring back cable TV. On vacation we have had access to cable TV again and it's done nothing to change our minds. The combination of TiVo and streaming services provides entertainment when we want it and to our taste with far less commercials. Why in the world am I going to shell out $100-130/month for a bunch of crappy reality shows, re-runs and so on? If I want a movie or series, it's probably on Netflix or Amazon, and I'd need to watch a lot to even approach what the cable used to cost.
    • I haven't cut my cord yet, but I was looking at my expenses the other day. Cable wasn't my highest, but everything higher would be hard to cut. Netflix + Hulu doesn't replace everything I currently watch, but it replaces most of it, at a much lower cost. At this point, a few stray shows, the local news, the fact that I'll still be dealing with the same company for internet, and plain old inertia are the only things keeping me on Time-Spectrum.

      • by enjar ( 249223 )
        We have an antenna to fill in the local shows thing, that feeds right into the TiVo. The TiVo also covers most of the streaming services, and an XBox covers any outliers.
        • But you are paying the Tivo recurring charge...

          • by enjar ( 249223 )
            We have lifetime membership/All In One on all our TiVos, so we paid once and promptly forgot about it. To put that in perspective, the oldest in-service device was bought and activated in 2010, so seven years in service and still going fine. We recently bought a new Bolt to upgrade from our old Series 3 HD when they did a $100 "transfer your lifetime subscription" promotion, that ended up being about $300 all in.
            • That's pretty good. Current Bolt AIP costs $549.99, and you have to use their hard drive which effectly sets the lifetime of the unit.

              • by enjar ( 249223 )
                Not necessarily. I've replaced/upgraded TiVo hard drives and power supplies by getting parts from Weaknees ( https://www.weaknees.com/ [weaknees.com]). The subscription is not tied to the hard drive. You can also add a external unit for more space. Difficulty level was about the same as swapping a hard drive or power supply in a desktop PC -- take the case off, unscrew a few things, disconnect cable, put back together. I've done it in a Series 1, Series 2 and Series 3. I'm kind of amazed I haven't needed to do it in the P
  • Instead of making a "large" (if any) profit on a few, cut your rate, and perhaps you will get more subscribers? Does any business not know "econ 101"?
  • Well the content providers are being super greedy so I cannot shed any tears there. And then the cable companies themselves, I mean a giant like Comcast owns it's own production. So what negotiation is there really?

    So what happens when catv providers lose revenue, then stop carrying channels? Those broadcasters aren't going to have very favorable returns when that happens and maybe we'll see the retransmission horse shit disappear.
  • "Cable TV 'Failing' As a Business, Cable Industry Lobbyist Says"

    In other news, sales of buggy whips have decreased dramatically and the Buggy Whip Lobby is demanding that Congress introduce legislation to correct this economically disastrous state of affairs.

  • They have apparently found a way to get all those rednecks to hate cable TV by giving it the same acronym as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or ObamaCare,. . .
  • due to rising programming costs and consumers switching from traditional TV subscriptions to online video streaming.

    Media producers overvalue their content and want too much for it. They'd probably make more selling it for less, as more people would be willing to pay.

    I can't stand watching commercials any more. I rarely watch our cable. I'd get rid of it, but a combination of other family members wanting it, and the "bundling" with internet, etc means they jack the price up on my internet if I ditch cable. Go somewhere else? Yeah right, I have one choice for broadband, and that is it.

    Love to ditch all the sports and othe

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