Saturday, June 7, 2014

"Cord Shaving"

People tend to forget that the easiest way to cut your cable bill is just to reduce the services you pay for. Sure you can take the “chicken challenge” and call your cable provider to cancel your cable service in the hope of getting a last minute deal. From the stories I've been hearing cable companies are playing harder to get these days, and most people would rather avoid these high drama exchanges.  I intend to try for a better rate myself soon but I’ll likely need to change cable operators to get a significantly better deal.  That said, when I do sign up with the new provider I’m planning to cut my service level to save even more money.

Subscriptions to HBO, Showtime, and other premium TV channels have declined over the past two years while Netflix and other subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services have gained in popularity. A recent NPD Group report noted a 6% overall decline in U.S. households subscribing to premium TV channels over the same period while households subscribing to SVOD services grew by 4%.

 I currently pay for HBO but how I got HBO is the funny story.  My wife fed up with the high cable bill says, “Give me the bill and I’ll get them to give us a better deal.”  That night, I find out the only deal they would give her is “free HBO” for a few months.  Hey better than nothing!  She tried but unless you’re ready and willing to cancel they often won’t budge. So now I have a $16/month HBO subscription I need to cancel.  I rarely watch HBO and for the same money I’d be better off buying the movies I really want off Amazon and I’ll just binge watch Games of Thrones at some later date.  No spoilers please!

Someday, I would like to "cut the cord" and cancel cable TV completely. For now, I'll settle for “cord shaving” while I learn to change my viewing habits to focus on more online content.  My first major move was to replaced my land-line.  Second, I’m dropping HBO.  And third I’m dropping those pesky little channel packages that seem like a deal at the time but really add up.  For me, I have the “Sports and Information” package which I thought I needed for local baseball coverage.  Turns out I didn't.  I’ll save $10/month just dropping that package and I doubt I’ll miss the NBA or Tennis channel.  In my case, I found over $70/month in net savings without even breaking a sweat. Best yet, I sure feel better when I pay the cable bill.

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