It’s official. After tallying up how much you spend per month on TV content, you know more than ever that its time to pull the plug. So before we figure out what the best solution is for you, we need to understand what you’re currently watching today to determine the best content plan for you in the future.
Local Broadcast Channels
Networks: ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS
- Whether it’s The Bachelor, College (or pro) Football, Good Morning America or the local news, almost everyone’s content footprint includes local channels. The great thing about these channels is you can watch them for free. It shouldn’t cost a single cent. This means you will need a HD antenna, but let’s not worry about that right now.
- The moral of this story is to NOT believe the hype from Cable or Satellite Cos, who advertise that to gain access to these channels you need to pay them $10 to $20 a month!
Basic Cable Channels
Networks: CNN, TBS, CNBC, A&E, Bravo, Discovery, etc…
- This is a pretty broad swath but includes several dozen of the most popular TV channels that are part of almost every cable and satellite package. TBS, CNN, CNBC, E!, FX, yada, yada, yada. Independently, each of these channels aren’t worth much, but put them all together and this represents a fair portion of your cable bill.
- Looking forward, this is where we may need to make one or two sacrifices, though it really depends on your preferences. There is a cable-free way to access most of these channels, but not a one stop shop for everything … more on this later
- Another question you need to ask yourself is: Do I need live access to the channel, or do I just want the channel because there is a program or series I enjoy watching? As you’ll see on the next page, if you just want access to watch programs that air on a certain channel (vs. live access to the channel), you will have tremendous opportunity to save on your monthly cost
Premium Cable Channels
Networks: HBO, HBO Go, Showtime, Showtime Anytime, etc…
- The “movie channels,” are what we used to call this section. This covers all thoses premium movie channels that you used to purchase through your cable or satellite TV provider.
- We’re starting to see a shift in these packages being offered directly to consumers through streamig devices, in addition to legacy cable and satellite providers. HBO recently announced you can subscribe directly to their platform through Apple TV device and we expect to see more of these deals over the coming months. Showtime is expected to announce a similar type of stand alone product sometime in 2015.
Networks: ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, MLB
- ESPN. The 800 lb gorilla of the cable world. ESPN is the MOST EXPENSIVE network for the cable and satellite companies to distribute on their platforms and the single largest driver of your monthly cable bills. If you’re not a sports fan and don’t watch ESPN, then you definitely are paying too much money for a traditional cable or satellite TV package.
- If you are a frequent consumer of ESPN, this is probably one reason that you haven’t yet cut the cord. Until recently, there really wasn’t an efficient way to gain access to the ESPN platform without having a cable or satellite subscription. But oh boy, times they are a changin. In the span of about six months, several opportunities have sprouted to keep ESPN and cut the cord!
Networks: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster Video
- I should just call this category, “Netflix,” but I’ve always been an Amazon fan and appreciate what they are building out with Amazon Prime Video, so I’ll keep things proper. This is the method you use to get access to recently released movies or television shows. Depending on your package (Netlfix, , Pay-per-view (cable/satellite), Amazon Prime, Blockbuster) you may be paying per movie or per month, but when you add up all these individual costs, it can look like a second cable bill
- Another trend that is making it easier to cut the cable cord, is the growing content libraries of these streaming platforms. Netflix and Amazon are also producing and distributing unique content only available on their platform! Who would have thought the day would come that blockbuster shows are ONLY available via online distribution??? Who needs cable!!!
Other Free Online Video Content
- This is a vast category and is obviously is led by Youtube. Youtube says that 300 hours of video is uploaded to their website EVERY MINUTE (www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html). And its all free to consume!
- Another recent shift in the streaming TV space, is more and more content creators, are providing access to their content free online. You want to watch last week’s episode of Modern Family? Just go to abc.go.com/shows and you can watch almost any episode of their primetime platform (you just have to wait one week after it airs on Live TV).
- Content is becoming much more of a sharing event. My prediction is, in a few years, every piece of video content imaginable will be at your fingertips for instant access, and 90%+ of it will be free.
So now that we’re a bit more familiar with the different types of content available and you have a better idea of what your content footprint may look like, it’s time to build your new content strategy.