The VPM Blog

Next to Fail: Subscription TV

Posted by Don Crow on Jul 11, 2012 6:00:39 AM

Take a look at your cable or satellite TV bill.

Now take a look, a hard look, at what channels you actually watch in any given week. Take it a step further and remove the ones you record for watching later.

Now take that monthly bill, taxes and all and divide it by that number of channels you watch. This will tell you what you pay per month for those channels.


Well, partly because this week at VPM we’re deep in discussions over how Millennials consume media.

And partly because personally, I’m tired of the near constant badgering providers do when channel line-ups are threatened. The latest example for me is AMC’s onslaught of advertising about how to switch from Dish Network. There was a war over increasing fees, so Dish Network dropped all of AMC’s channels. [NOTE: I would have been in trouble as a rabid ‘Mad Men’ and ‘The Walking Dead’ fan!]

I have DirecTV because Charter dropped the NFL Network and refused to add more HD channels. Easy enough, I’ll go someplace that has both. And along the way I realized just how much we were paying, per channel, for content we didn’t care about.

Without getting all of you all up in my business, we pay just over $10 per channel in my home. If your bill is approaching $200 per month (as mine did before we did this math the first time), then the per channel number is even more nauseating.

I don’t need the providers to tell me they have More, More & More channels. I need them to tell me they have a better way of getting what I want to watch to me when I want to watch it. Otherwise, it is better (time and money) for me to skip the More, More & More channel subscription and buy the seaon(s) I want after the fact via a service like Amazon and watch them at my leisure – without commercials and the threat of losing channels after I’m locked into a long term contract with a provider.

In fact, as of this blog post, DirecTV pulls a blackout of Viacom! Why? Viacom is demanding higher programming fees. Media companies can’t keep upping the cost, and providers can’t keep tuning out subscribers.

It’s a race to the bottom where consumers will win by opting for other means to see just the content they want, when they want it, without interruptions.

And some people said Joe Clayton was crazy for his commercial Auto Hop feature at Dish Network?

Maybe he’s Crazy like an ingenious fox. He knows what’s coming.

See previous Next to Fail articles.

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