Instead, they’re still trying to make fetch happen, still pretending the bundle is alive.
It’s not, as my monthly math makes clear. I’m overpaying for Internet access at $78/month. I’m paying $75/month for YouTube TV, a cable replacement. That’s still about $80 less than I was paying for cable when I cut it off a few years ago.
Now some of that money is going out the door. I get ESPN Plus for about $10/month. I have Amazon Prime, so that’s $15/month (with free shipping). I buy Peacock for the Premier League at $10/month, and Apple TV for my Atlanta United fix at another $10. I’m still $32 below my old cable bill while adding free shipping on my Amazon packages and the Internet broadband I use for work.
The whole idea of the cable bundle is that you’re forced to pay an accelerating price for garbage you don’t watch. I’ve cut that cost by two-thirds with YouTube and I’m ready to bolt if they keep raising the price.
There’s now stuff I’m missing, that I wasn’t missing in the old cable days. I don’t get to watch the Champions’ League, which is on Paramount. I no longer get Star Trek, which has also moved there. I don’t get Hulu or Disney Plus or Max. I don’t need them.
Because here’s the point. The limiting factor with streaming isn’t money. I could afford to buy all the streamers. The limiting factor is time. I don’t have time for half the content I’m getting, and if it weren’t for the beautiful game, I would be happy with just Prime. And I’m not financially constrained.
What about middle class families? My guess is they’re looking to save some of that cable cost, maybe with T-Mobile or Comcast cellphone service. I’m guessing the add-ons of those companies deliver them plenty of content, especially with the time hassles families face these days. Aged lovers of reality shows may be quite content with just Max, and those with small kids may just have the Disney bundle.
Everything on streaming competes with everything else, and the only real limit is the time we spend watching it. A working family may have just 3 hours each evening to spend on entertainment. Many young adults are happy with just Google YouTube, which is free, because they’re putting their time into video games. Each streamer has more than enough content for the average viewer. It’s not like there are 57 channels and nothing on. There are thousands of offerings just on Amazon.
Streaming killed the cable bundle and it’s time the media figured that out. Time is money, it’s more important than money, and if your entertainment isn’t worth our time we’re not buying. It’s the viewer, not the programmer, who now has the power of the remote.