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Cord-Nevers Still Not Interested, Even With “Skinny Bundles”

Phillip Dampier June 14, 2017 Competition, Consumer News, Online Video 4 Comments

Consumers who refuse to pay for cable television today still won’t pay for it tomorrow, even if they are offered a slimmed-down “skinny bundle” of cable networks for less money.

Sanford Bernstein media analyst Todd Juenger continued a series of focus groups with consumers to find if alternatives to cable television are attractive to consumers. The under-40 sample mixed cord-cutters and current cable and satellite customers and presented them with a range of recently available options from Sling, DirecTVNow and YouTube TV and asked if they would subscribe.

Once again, Juenger discovered the group most likely to subscribe to a cable-TV alternative already had pay television and often paid for the top-tier of service. So far, many of those customers are sampling different services but have not taken the last step of dropping their existing cable television package.

Multichannel News reports most won’t disconnect because of the lack of DVR service from most cable-TV alternatives. Until robust cloud-based DVR service is widely available and not hobbled by a lack of fast-forwarding functionality, new streaming services like DirecTVNow probably will never replace cable television.

Cable-nevers — mostly younger consumers that have never paid for cable television, still don’t seem to be willing to pay for online alternatives either. Most cited the fact they watched individual shows, not channels, and most “skinny bundles” invariably lacked certain networks with the programming they wanted to watch. Many would prefer to subscribe to television shows, not networks.

Cable TV pricing, widely slammed by many customers as too high, didn’t seem to matter as much to those participating in the series of focus groups. When asked what cable networks they would be willing to pay $5 a month each to watch, ESPN was rated on top, followed by Food Network, FX, HGTV, Logo, NBCSN, Syfy and VH1 — many carrying niche shows and original content not available elsewhere. If all eight networks were bundled together, that would cost $40, considerably more than the per channel price of much larger packages.

While older cable subscribers tend to watch programming from the same 6-10 cable networks, younger viewers seek out specific shows, and may not be able to identify what cable networks air them. They also watch on-demand more than older viewers.

Currently there are 4 comments on this Article:

  1. Herman says:

    Another benefit of being either a cord-never or cord-cutter is that you’re not stuck with WiFi from the cable company that doesn’t work. You can do something like Coaxifi on those cable outlets and get WiFi to every roomAnother benefit of being either a cord-never or cord-cutter is that you’re not stuck with anemic WiFi from the cable company on a modem/router that barely works. You can do something like Coaxifi on those cable outlets and get WiFi to every room, even reuse the cable drop in the backyard. Also, I get about 60-70 channels with an ATSC antenna in the attic. We have Sling TV because my wife likes HGTV but with 4 PBS channels over the air, there’s usually something cool and non-brain-numbing to watch for free.

  2. Josh says:

    The lack of good DVR service is sure what does it for me…and the lack of at least the 6 big local networks.

    I’m excited by a given cable network only by what shows it can give me…and like right now all FX would do for me is Archer and Legion. Syfy probably has a bit more, and most networks I don’t care about at all. I think I counted over 30 sports networks when I briefly subscribed to Vue, and I really don’t need any!

  3. Mike D. says:

    Cable and Satellite TV are going the way of the Dodo bird. In ten years people will laugh at the stupidity of those who tossed money away getting their entertainment from companies who never appreciated their customers and exploited them.

  4. Marc K says:

    I’m an “ad-never”. You can charge me a subscription fee, or you can show me ads. But, I won’t pay for ad-laden content.







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