Cord Cutting Thursday #2: More than 1 million people cut the cord during the most recent quarter

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The auto schedule thing for TVWriter™ failed, so this post is – OMG! – late. Apologies for a screw-up in the order here that nobody would’ve noticed if we hadn’t just told you. So:)

Another look at cord-cutting, from a wider POV:

by Andy Meek

Dish Network announced today [Feb 12, 2019] that it shed 334,000 subscribers during the fourth quarter, with a substantial portion of the departures being attributed to the ongoing dispute with HBO that’s caused HBO programming to be blacked out for Dish subscribers.

If that wasn’t enough, Dish president and CEO Erik Carlson added that there’s been essentially no progress in talks with HBO over the blackout — the first in Dish’s almost 50-year history, which likely spooked many subscribers to go ahead and cancel especially with April’s season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones getting closer and closer.

It must surely sting to run a subscriber-based business and have to tell investors, at a time when everyone is aware that less expensive and more convenient options are eating away at your business, that you lost more than a quarter of a million customers during a single quarter. But things are indeed really that bad for traditional cable TV providers — and new fourth quarter and full-year 2018 figures for the biggest providers show that things are only getting worse….

Read it all at BGR.COM

Cord Cutting Thursday #4: Where The Cord Cutting Thing is Leading

Last but not least, today’s last look at TV cord cutting, AKA “The Modern Buggy Whip Manufacturers Strike Back.” (Yeah, we made that up. But here’s what we mean:

by Luke Bouma

There is an old saying that goes “look at who they attack, and you will find out who they are afraid of.” This seems to be very true as a growing number of media companies line up to attack cord cutting.

Already this year both NBC and CBS have published stories pushing the idea that cord cutting costs as much as cable TV. Although they didn’t say it, the underlining idea was “come back to cable TV.”

Even NPR is working on a story that asks the question “is the cost of subscription services adding up?” In the last few weeks since Netflix’s $2 price hike I have heard from multiple news groups asking for interviews or comment on how cord cutting is as much as cable TV.

Yet when Comcast, Spectrum, Dish, and DIRECTV all raise their rates we hardly hear about it. This week we learned that for the second time in a year Spectrum is raising their broadcast TV fee by 20%. We hardly see anything in the news about it and no one asked whether this makes cord cutting an even better deal.

The truth is there is no evidence that shows cord cutting is going to ever cost more than cable TV. The only way cord cutting can catch up to cable TV is if cable TV stops raising their prices for a few years. Historically, there is no evidence to support the idea cable TV will suddenly stop raising their rates.

Yet even though study after study shows cord cutting saves money and while millions of Americans ditched cable TV in 2018, news groups seem desperate to push the idea that cord cutting is just not worth it….


Cord Cutting Thursday #3: Best live TV streaming services for cord-cutters

Tips for cord cutters are big business these days. Our recommendation is that y’all give them some real, hard thought because if things keep going this way, you might not have any choice but to, you know, move on:

by Ty Pendlebury, David Katzmaier

Cable TV can seem a lot like a landline phone: an unnecessary expense shacked by outdated hardware. All the cool kids, and a lot of the cool grownups, are cutting the cable TV cord.

If you want to join them but don’t want to ditch live TV completely, you’ve come to the right place. Live TV streaming services like Sling TV and DirecTV Now let you watch most if not all of your favorite live TV channels — from ABC to CBS to CNN to ESPN to Fox News to Nickelodeon — streamed over the Internet. And the monthly fee is likely far less than you’re paying the cable company for TV.

Prices start at $15 per month with no extra fees or contracts. In place of a cable box, you’ll use an app on your Smart TV, RokuAmazon Fire TV or Apple TV. And you can watch at home or on the go via a phone or tablet, or even a PC browser.

These services have plenty of benefits  — no more cable fees, no more contracts, yay! — but the savings can be outweighed by other downsides such as internet fees, DVR restrictions, buffering and a lack of things to watch, especially live sports. Chances are your local cable service has more channels.

With all that in mind, here’s a guide to brave new world of live TV streaming over the internet, as well as other cord-cutting options available today….

Read it all at CNET.COM

Cord Cutting Thursday #1: Cord Cutting Is Growing As Americans Over 50 Ditch Cable TV

Writing for TV is meaningless if nobody’s watching the medium, wouldn’t you say? Keeping that in mind, we at TVWriter™ have dedicated today, Thursday, February 21st, to a look into the future of what the Brits might call “Telly Transmission,” starting with:

by Luke Bouma

For years cord cutting was seen as something Millennials are doing. Now evidence is starting to pile up that people of all age groups are cutting the cord. A new report from PwC shows 28 percent of Americans over 50 years old no longer pay for a traditional pay TV service.

What is even more interesting is that 61 percent of Americans over 50 are also streaming content online even if they have a cable TV subscription. For years services like NetflixHulu, and Amazonwere seen as services for younger people, now we have hard evidence that people of all ages also enjoy streaming.

This news has to scare cable TV executives since it has been shown one of the main reasons people cancel cable TV is not using it enough. As more people stream content online instead of using cable TV, cable TV looks like an expense they no longer need….

Read it all at CORDCUTTERS.COM


2 Decisions & an Accident – how ‘The Office’ became a Hit

As TVWriter™’s longtime friend the Old Billionaire used to say, “If you’re lucky, you don’t have to be smart.” Truth to tell, though, Michael Schur, writer-creator of The Good Place and former writer for The Office has both those things going for him and then some:

by Todd VenDerWerff

Michael Schur is one of the most adept minds in TV comedy. From his early days producing the Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon-era Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, to his work as one of the key writers on The Office, he has charted a career that spans some of the best TV comedy of the 2000s.

But in the 2010s, he’s become perhaps the principal figure in network TV comedy, via his shows Parks and Recreation and The Good Place. (He’s also the co-creator of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, though his fellow co-creator Dan Goor is the showrunner on that series.) Parks and Recreation was a tribute to the idea of a kinder, more loving America, just barely holding off a dark and horrifying one, while The Good Place is the only show in TV history that has balanced advanced lessons in ethics and philosophy with elaborate jokes about shrimp.

That’s what made me want to talk with Schur for the latest episode of my podcast, I Think You’re Interesting. But I wanted to talk not only about his shows, but about his overall philosophy of comedy.

We delved into questions of what makes a good comedic premise, what makes a good character relationship to build a comedy around, and what the best comedic actors have in common. We even got around to tackling that age-old question: Why is it so much easier to set a sitcom in a bar than it is to set one in a restaurant?

But early in our discussion, when I asked him to find a common denominator among successful sitcoms, he gave me a long dissection of what went right with The Office, which helped transform it from a one-season curio into a nine-season series that ran for over 200 episodes. His answer, lightly edited for length and clarity, follows.

Read it all at VOX.COM