More signs that the TV business is set for a profound upheaval

“One of the most popular television shows in America this autumn is called ‘How to Get Away with Murder,’ about a law professor and her students, who become involved in a mysterious killing. Most cable subscribers will find the title an appropriate description of their viewing experience,” The Economist writes. “Couch potatoes are forced to spend around $90 a month for their subscription. They receive over 160 channels, most of which they skip straight past. By one estimate the cost of a cable subscription has more than doubled since 2000. All that for the privilege of doing business with companies that consistently rank in the lower regions of customer-satisfaction surveys.”

“This month the plot took a twist. HBO, a premium cable channel, announced that, starting next year, it would offer its programming, previously only available through pay-television distributors, as a stand-alone product delivered to anyone with an internet connection. CBS, a broadcast network, recently launched a similar service,” The Economist writes. “There are other signs that a “lighter” bundle may be available soon. Earlier this year DISH, a satellite provider, won the rights to sell Disney’s content, including ESPN, a sports channel, as part of an internet-delivered television service, and Sony may launch something like it by the end of the year.”

“Americans continue to watch a remarkable amount of TV the old-fashioned way: around four-and-a-half hours a day, on average,” The Economist writes. “The new stand-alone online offerings will appeal to some consumers, but are unlikely to cause the television business to crack quickly. Consumers who want to cobble together different subscriptions from HBO, Netflix and others may find it is not that much cheaper after paying for broadband.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
HBO’s online pricing trap: HBO’s over-the-top broadband service looks doomed even before it starts – October 17, 2014
CBS to offer $5.99/month stand-alone web subscription service – October 16, 2014
HBO to offer standalone Internet subscriptions, no cable/satellite required, starting next year – October 15, 2014
Steve Jobs’ told biographer: ‘I finally cracked’ the secret to an easy-to-use integrated HDTV – October 21, 2011


  1. The cost of broadband is not additive for most households so no, it is cheaper for those of us who “cobble together” our online subscriptions. My Apple TV makes the process pretty easy actually

    1. With an OTA antenna, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, and iTunes I get almost all the content I want for under $25 per month. All I’m lacking is ESPN and one or two shows on HBO.

        1. I only get 2 of 5 broadcast networks with my OTA antenna. With cable I get a 6-tuner Multi-terabyte DVR to record any of the 20 channels I actually watch.

          My cable company is also my broadband, so between Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes on Apple TV I have everything I’ll ever have time to watch.

          Cost per hour is less than $0.25. Just this year they have greatly improved the interface and captioning.

          Add to that my SlingBox and I really have my TV problems sorted. If I could find a local cell provider with consistent sustained throughput above 3 Mbps ALL my issues would be solved.

  2. You know, I lived in France for about 6 months, about 6 years ago. Guess the cost of cable TV + Internet + phone with *INCLUDED* international calling, like back to the US?
    Guess again.
    Still wrong.
    38 euros per month.
    Are we ripped off in the US, or what?

    1. My parents in Seoul have two iPhones in their wireless plan with unlimited calls, texts *and* data with LTE speed consistently in the 30mbps range. The plan is around $40 per month depending on the exchange rate. Made me sick to hear that…

    2. I love it when people without a Passport tell everyone how Amurrika is the greatest country on earth. When you ask them how they know, they either get really mad or tell you because gawd blessed us so much.

      I think we are number 1 in school shootings, gun crazies and trailer dwelling Republicans. Not so sure about anything good.

    3. Yeah my friends in Poland has a similar plan and it’s about a 1/4 to a 1/3 of what we pay here. Cellphone coverage over there is a lot cheaper with better coverage. Last time I was there I got a prepaid sim with 2GB of data for like $8.

    4. I am not saying you people are wrong about the cost of these services in other countries. But what I would really like to see is cost in the form of a % of income. Its all fine and dandy to say it cost $20 for somthing overseas that is $100 in the U.S. but compare that to average income of say $27 Hr vs $4.40 per hour etc. or food and water cost of 10x what they pay in the U.S., I do not live in the U.S. by the way.

  3. Whether it’s cheaper or not is not the question, although it would be a major consideration. It’s about choosing your own viewing selections. Being force fed what you can watch on tv sucks.

  4. Cut off the cable cord years ago and only have Apple TV as I really don’t watch TV at all. I still miss watching the occasional good NFL or MBL games. Live news would be good to have every now and then. I think live streaming of pro sports and other events will be the key. That’s the only thing I kind of miss although I’m doing fine without it now.

    1. We just dropped the “standard” tier with Time Warner, so now just get the basic channels (i.e.. CBS, NBC, Fox, CW, etc), though we did keep HBO (mostly for Game of Thrones). Got our TW bill down to $82, which is still outrageous as we have “standard” internet, not upgraded.

      I’m seriously thinking about dropping it entirely soon, getting an HD antenna, and just buying this season of GoT from iTunes…

      Then next year we’ll just subscribe directly to HBO…if at all ( depending on price).

      1. A very good 150 mile range antenna with a preamplifier and a built in directional remote controlled rotor runs about $60. With that you can get all the local broadcast stations that generally include NBC, FOX, CBS, ABC, and PBS, including local news. We get 27 channels in our area with our antenna, and it’s all in uncompressed digital HD.

      2. Interesting that I just got notice from Time Warner that in the San Fernando Valley West they are going to speed up all Internet broadband plans by some 5X ! All I have to do is just go pick up the new TW modem. No extra charge! The pathetic smell of fear is palpable.

        1. Fascinating. That’s not the local Time Warner Cable I know! I’ve actually got the cable modem to handle it, waiting for TWC to get its act together. I dumped their cable TV last spring and have had no urges to return.

        2. I got the same offer here in nyc pereblood71. I’m going to give it a try for a couple weeks, but will most likely switch to fios anyway. It won’t save me much money, but my upload speeds will be vastly improved. I’m trying to work from home as much as possible and sending large film files makes TWC completely choke.

  5. Well my DVR died so I lost the last few weeks of my recorded shows. As some of my favorites are on CBS, I signed up for this service. Here are two things that are not readily apparent by looking over the website 1) It’s $6/month. (That info is buried until you sign up for a free week) 2) The shows that are currently airing (ie Hawaii Five-0, Big Bang Theory, CSI, NCIS, etc.) have commercials. (I believe there are older shows no longer on TV that don’t have commercials, but I haven’t checked it out yet). This makes it not a very good deal. If I’m paying for the content, it should be commercial free. Hopefully I can get caught up with my CBS shows during the free one week trial. I really thought CBS was breaking new ground here, but alas, it’s not to be.

    1. Get an antenna and buy ElGato’s EyeTV for your Mac. Hook the Mac to EyeTV’s digital TV tuner and connect the tuner to your antenna and your Mac is now your DVR for free OTA TV.

  6. in the future I see the cost of just broadband internet to be over $100 per month, but it will be gigabit service. ISP’s will get most of the money and then networks will compete to get you to subscribe to their ala carte packages

  7. I can’t imagine watching 4-1/2 hours of TV a day. I have much better things to do with my time.

    But for anyone that does watch that much, a $90 monthly bill works out to 66 cents/hour. That’s pretty cheap entertainment.

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