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Cord-cutting is not a myth

I’ve been watching television shows on my computer for most of my life.

No, I’m not 10 years old.

I started in 2001. Before 1080p MKVs and crappy AVIs.
Buffy Season Six was my first.

When I moved to the US, I continued watching TV on my laptop, and then my desktop. And in 2012, I finally bought an actual TV. Not because it was a TV, but because it was a screen. And an awesome one at that.

Earlier this week, a room full of executives gave a conference about the TV industry. Forbes published an article on the subject, entitling “Why cord-cutting is a myth“.

A myth? Isn’t that going a bit too far?

Hearst Ventures’ George Kliavkoff didn’t think so:

Cord-cutting is a great “story”, but I think it’s over-reported.

Amy Banse, managing director of Comcast Ventures concurred:

The volume of press around cord cutting doesn’t quite match reality.

The thing is, numbers don’t lie.

For the first time ever, Comcast now has more high-speed Internet customers than cable TV (22.55 million vs. 22.3 million).
The number of US households has been growing around 1 million a year, yet TV cable has been stagnating for a long time while Internet has skyrocketed (in addition to being a utility).


So where is all this denial coming from?

Let’s go back to that Forbes article–

Joe Marchese, president of advanced advertising products for Fox Networks Group, pointed out that Internet access still requires cord—in the form of a cable or a phone line.

Okay. Literally requiring a cord to use the Internet means you can’t be a cord-cutter.
That is, literally, the most literal argument I’ve ever read. Also, completely nonsensical.
People aren’t “cord-cutting” a physical apparatus, they are cutting ties with a specific content delivery method. Simple as that.

Which brings us to the main eyebrow-raising maneuver to reassure shareholders that, don’t worry guys, cord-cutting is totally not a thing.

As Kliavkoff explained:

What’s more likely to gain sizable traction is cord “shaving”. […] A la carte purchasing of channels—and not taking most of them—is a far more interesting area.

With HBO’s a-la-carte inevitable success, such a statement is undoubtedly true–except for the fact that subscribing to HBO Now or Showtime Anytime and cancelling Time Warner have substantially the same outcome.
In other words, the difference between customers changing behaviors and customers never having that behavior to begin with is irrelevant.

Playing word games to argue literal cord-cutting is “over-estimated” is a waste of everyone’s time. Cord-cutting isn’t a “myth” simply because it doesn’t fit a company’s very narrow definition. Worse, you are being disingenuous towards all your current, past, and potential customers by ignoring the motivation behind their actions.

I’ve never had to “cut the cord” because I’ve never wanted to pay $100/month for a cable TV package.
I guess I’m not a cord-cutter. I’m a “cord never(er)” (or “never-cord”).

People are finding newer, better alternatives than the old cord-a-roo.
Whether that means they’re doing it from the get-go or are realizing it years later leads to the same result…

Candle-making can’t stay profitable for long now that people are getting light from a series of tubes.

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