My Reply to The New York Times’ Hit Piece: The Downside to Cord-Cutting




Recently The New York Times released a story on cord cutting that I can only describe as a hit piece meant to turn people away from cord cutting.

So let’s take a moment and break down why Brian X. Chen’s story failed to take all the options cord cutters have into account.

#1 Helping Brian Find His Channels:

Right in the second paragraph Brian X. Chen said he was unhappy to find out PlayStation Vue did not offer CBS or The CW Network. Brian, let me save you some time and money here. For areas where the PlayStation Vue does not offer local channels, you can get local channels for FREE with an antenna.

Brian, you live in San Francisco, according to your NYT bio. CBS is on Channel 5, and The CW Network is on Channel 44. Not only did I help you find your content, but I saved you the extra $10 a month or $120 a year PlayStation Vue would have charged you.

#2 Cord Cutting Is Over 10 Million Strong

Brian, you talked about how there are only 4.9 million cord cutters in the United States. That is very bad data and only looks at half the data. You used eMarketer, who said there are 4.9 million fewer households paying for cable. That ignores all the cord cutters out there today who have never paid for cable.

According to The USA Today story dated August 24, 2014, there were over 7.6 million cord cutters. At CES, Sling TV announced that they estimate over 10 million cord cutters in the United States.

Cord cutting is not some small group of people, but a fast-growing market that companies are tripping over themselves to reach.

#3 There Is More to Cord Cutting Than Sling TV and PlayStation Vue

Brian, you said you only tried PlayStation Vue and Sling TV—two live TV services. Cord cutting has so much more to offer with over 100 streaming services available to cord cutters. That is like complaining about a long drive as you deliberately avoid the Interstate in favor of back roads. Of course, you won’t get the best cord cutting experience when you only use a fraction of the services out there.

#4 Cord Cutting Is Not Meant to Be Cable TV

You also said PlayStation Vue and Sling TV where designed to replace traditional cable packages. Trying to replace cable with an exact copy of cable TV is like a Windows user switching to a Mac and complaining that there is no start button.

Cord cutting is meant to be a different experience from cable. Cord cutting is more about the shows and less about the channels. You complained that you couldn’t get CBS earlier, but you missed the point: you don’t want the channel you want the shows. There are many ways to get shows other than PlayStation Vue and Sling TV. If you don’t want to get an antenna, you can subscribe to CBS All Access, Netflix, Amazon Video, iTunes, and many other services, which would give you access to the shows you want.

#5 The Neighbor Test

OK, this one made me really scratch my head… Brian you used a PlayStation and complained how people struggled a bit to use the PlayStation controller to watch TV. There are many devices out there, such as Roku and the Fire TV, which not only give you access to more content than your PlayStation but give you a remote that everyone would be interested in using.

Complaining about the remote is a bad reason to not recommend cord cutting, especially when cheaper options with simpler remotes were ignored. Or just buy a traditional remote for the PlayStation 4.

The Real Bottom Line

Cord cutting is not cable TV and should not be approached as cable TV. When you go in trying to find an exact copy of cable TV you set yourself up for failure from the start and do a disservice to your readers.

Cord cutting offers so much more than traditional cable TV could ever offer. Netflix alone offers great award-winning content you cannot get on cable TV. Add in Hulu, Amazon Video, HBO Now, Showtime Anytime, and other great services and you have a catalog of content that cable subscribers could only dream of. The best part is the freedom from long contracts. If you had done this test on cable you would have now been locked into a 2-year contract that you could never get out of.

So, Brian, give me a call, and I will be happy to help you find every show you want so you can give cord cutting a true and fair look.

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