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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently noted Time Warner Cable was testing new lower priced cable TV tiers that don't actually offer much value. They only save you $10 for one year off better tiers that include 80 more channels, can't be bundled with other services for a discount, can't include DVR service, and other restrictions. One analyst claims this is effectively a PR stunt "designed to fail;" pitching lower income (or foreclosure victims) that are cord cutting with faux low rates and restrictions -- designed to make it easier to upsell them more expensive services as soon as possible. http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/T...08?nocomment=1


also:


Cut-rate cable tiers: When all is lost, offer a (bad) deal to subs, hope cord cutting goes away


by Jim O'Neill


Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable are just about breaking their collective corporate arms as they pat themselves on the back celebrating their latest "this will save the cable industry," plan, their new "low-cost" cable packages.


TWC's "TV Essentials" is essentially a step back to the basic tier of old--local broadcast stations plus cable channels like A&E, AMC, Bravo, Cartoon, CNN, Disney, HGTV, Lifetime, MTV, a couple of gimmes to keep the subscribers happy. Subs also get two SD STBs, and video-on demand--sans any free content.


Want a little more retro? TWC's "TV Essentials" doesn't include anything but the basic video package, no Internet, no phone.


No kidding.


While the price in its two test markets, New York and northern Ohio--$40 and $30 respectively--sounds reasonable, it comes with the standard cable caveat: it's good for 12 months, after which it pops to $50 in both markets. TWC says it'll roll it out in other markets through 2011.


So, is this a package seriously designed, as TWC chief exec Glenn Britt says, with folks in economic distress in mind?


"We understand that people are under pretty serious economic duress and would like to have more choice and the option of paying for less programming," Britt said. "This video-only package isn't for everyone, but we hope that some of those most hard-hit by the current economic conditions find it to be a helpful option."


Really?


TWC's deal isn't really about keeping low-end subscribers, it's about poaching the low end of the satellite market, the Dish Network subs who can get a basic package for $25 a month (yes, for 12 months; then it pops to $40), but--NEWS FLASH--they also get a heck of a lot more than the TWC package has to offer, including the Holy Grail: ESPN.


It also isn't aimed at keeping potential cord cutters or cord shavers who, for economic reasons or just "because," are looking for ways to dial down or eliminate their cable bill. TWC's video-only package doesn't include Internet, so over-the-top goes out the window.


A game changer, it's not.


As for Charter, it doesn't actually have an offering--yet--but it wants to, so it can (hopefully) hang onto the subscribers it's been losing by the bucketful.


Charter is planning to roll out "a lower-tier, more economic package," as well, CEO Michael Lovett said. "We can go back to those households that are experiencing challenging times in this economy with something that would be better-suited for them--at least for this phase."


Lovett, like most cable execs, continues to blame the economy.


"If you look at unemployment rates today, we see people forgoing video entertainment in the household," Lovett said. "We don't see 'over-the-top' as a substitution long-term. We see a near-term impact relative to the economy on the video business."


Charter, by the way, saw a 5 percent decrease in TV subscribers in the third quarter, and said more is expected this quarter.


The new, cut-rate deals cable companies are offering isn't the solution to the market erosion the cable industry has been suffering since 2008. Its market share has contracted from some 66.2 percent in 2Q08, to 60.3 percent in 3Q10, while satellite and Telco TV offerings have grown (1.5 percent and 4.3 percent respectively), according to SNL Kagan.


The cable industry is suffering from a much larger malady, the 10 consecutive quarters of subscriber losses is just a symptom, and TWC, Charter and others, inevitably, are grasping at straws. The industry has trampled its customer base for years like a Tyrannosaurus rex run amok. The evolution of the pay-TV industry is wreaking havoc with cable, as satellite and Telco TV offerings relentlessly push it out of its ecosystem. It's a dinosaur and, just like that T-rex, is bound for the boneyard. -Jim

Excerpted from Cut-rate cable tiers: When all is lost, offer a (bad) deal to subs, hope cord cutting goes away - FierceIPTV

http://www.fierceiptv.com/story/cut-...-go/2010-11-23
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
By Matthew Garrahan in Los Angeles


Published: November 28 2010 17:33 | Last updated: November 28 2010 17:33


Netflix, the DVD subscription service that also offers movies to be streamed online, has a share performance chart most companies would kill for.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/82f58d34-fb1...print=yes.html
 

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If they were serious they would offer A La Carte programming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Stark County viewers weigh home entertainment options

By Robert Wang

CantonRep.com staff writer

Posted Nov 29, 2010 @ 07:00 AM


Many area residents said they would prefer to buy only the channels they watch, to cut the cost of cable or satellite TV.


Cable and satellite providers blame the cable networks, which they say insist on selling their channels in bundles. Dish Network spokeswoman Francie Bauer said a media conglomerate often will insist that a cable or a satellite provider that wants to carry a popular channel also pay to carry several of its other cable channels.


But Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters, said the cable providers have lobbied against the federal government requiring them to sell channels separately.


more
http://www.cantonrep.com/stark/x2100...inment-options
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Posted November 29, 2010 4:30 PM


Is cable TV headed for an online-yielded demise like the record industry?


things are changing. Suddenly there are new services popping up like Google TV and Apple TV and more, taking us away from traditional television,". "The customer finally had enough. Now with choices they are making their move."


Read more: http://www.thirdage.com/news/cable-t...#ixzz16iohyVxR
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Comcast Shakes Down Internet Provider For Video Delivery (LVLT, CMCSK)

Matt Rosoff, Monday, November 29, 2010


Internet backbone provider Level 3 Communications claims that Comcast has suddenly started charging it fees to deliver Internet video to Comcast subscribers.


In a press release, Level 3's Chief Legal Officer Thomas Stortz claims that Comcast approached it on November 19th to demand a recurring fee for delivering online movies and other video. Four days later, Comcast reiterated its demand, and Level 3 paid up to avoid service disruptions to customers. Level 3 is complaining to regulators in hopes of getting rules passed that would prevent companies from establishing these kinds of "toll" payments.


This is a perfect example of why it's so hard for technology companies to change the current TV distribution model. Comcast has no interest in allowing its Internet subscribers to undercut its core TV and video-on-demand business. After all, Comcast pays content owners to distribute their content--why should it allow ISPs a free ride?


Cord-cutting is a nice dream for the high-tech industry, but the incumbents aren't going to roll over and let it happen easily.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...type=printable
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 01-12-2010


Even though OTT and other online video and alternatives to standard subscriptions services are undoubtedly gaining traction, there is little evidence in the US at least that mainstream viewers are embarking on cord-cutting en masse and dumping traditional TV and further support for this comes in the latest annual study of consumer video consumption habits and platforms conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates.


In the study, 2010: The New Age of Video Entertainment', the analyst believes that customer behaviour should prompt the industry to review any notion that it should gear for cord-cutting in the short term. In fact its shows that despite having available a huge wide variety of digital TV alternatives to cable TV, satellite TV and even telco provided IPTVsuch as OTT video, VOD and mobile TV and mobile video servicesthe vast majority intends to stick with what they have.


Read more: Cable TV, satellite and IPTV trounce cord-cutting | News | Rapid TV News http://www.rapidtvnews.com/index.php...#ixzz16qyyndwR
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cutting the Time Warner Cable cord: Can it be done?

January 2, 2011 at 7:02 am by Daniel Nester


This image is sort of literal and dramatic, But I long to do this. Image from HD Podcast.com.


Around these parts, Time Warner Cable has a monopoly on our cable offerings. Not everyone can get satellite, after all, and Verizon's FiOS isn't offered everywhere.


For at least two years, that monopoly didn't matter for us. When we moved to Delmar from Center Square two years ago, we took their TV-phone-broadband triple-up deal for $99 a month. That sounded reasonable enough, and a tidy way to take care of what could be three monthly bills.


Then, without any notice, our bill went up. Way up, in fact: almost double the around to $170 a month.


So I started looking for alternatives. Can we cut the cord?


Now, even though FiOS, the fiber-optic cable alternative people evangelize about almost as much as I do with Trader Joe's, isn't available where we live, Verizon does offer phone and broadband bundled with DirecTV, which we might be able to do, at least out here in the burbs.


Thing is, it's the same price, and with lot of hidden fees (especially regarding the phone service, with added charges for such exotic features as Caller ID). With a two-year commitment, diving into that alternative seemed like another money drain same as or even more than Time Warner.


Even still, the monopoly is breaking up, you see. Or I should say it's going to break up.


As recently as a year ago, I had thought of buying a small CPU to include in our entertainment center to be able to watch content on our TV. But now there are cheap devices that do this, and it's has led to many people to consider cutting the cord. People do this by watching movies streaming through a set-top device connected directly to broadband with an Ethernet or wirelessly.


You can now watch shows and movies on your TV pretty easily and bypass the cable box entirely by hooking up a range of web-enabled gizmos to your TV. They've become cheaper in the past year or so. There's the Roku Player (around $100), Popcorn Hour (around $200), and Apple TV. You can watch TV with PlayStation 3- I took our Wii out of semi-retirement when it could play Netflix on it. The new Google TV devices are far more ambitious and have full-on QWERTY keyboards. They probably represent the real future of TVfull internet-TV integration. I bought a Blu Ray DVD player that also integrate wifi/ethernet streaming.


The machine itself was cheapa Sony model for $90. The term Wifi Blu Ray Player is a bit of a misnomer, since you can also hook it up via ethernet. Using the holes I had drilled in the floor for my surround sound speakers, I hooked up an wired connection to the player. Within minutes, we were watching movies without Time Warner's cable box.


We've subscribed to Netflix for years, and never really took advantage of the streaming feature, save for a couple trips where we showed Caillou episodes on my laptop to keep our oldest well-behaved on trips. The offerings for streaming were pretty lame, at least at first-a lot of 80s movies and an odd lot of TV series also-rans. But with recent changes and beefed-up streamed offerings, Netflix now encourages customers to go all-streaming for $7.99 a month, and charges more for its DVD rental services (a hefty $19.99 a month for three DVDs at a time). I split the difference and opted for the $9.99 streaming with one DVD at a time.


But with this new gadget we have connected to our TV, we have other options.


We subscribed to the Hulu Plus, which for another $7.99 a month gives us episodes of television shows old and new, as well as movies. The wifey and I spent the day after Christmas watching the second season of Modern Family-again, all without using the TWC box.


So I thought about cutting the cord entirely.


I called Time Warner Cable the other day to ask: Why am I paying $100 a month for essentially the same services I could get for $16?


Right now, for instance I told Deb, our Time Warner rep, I'm watching Wall Street II using Amazon's Video-On-Demand. It's in HD, and at $4.99, it's cheaper than what Time Warner charges.


I should state up front didn't think I would accomplish a lot with this call. I just wanted to gloat, really. I know, I should get a life.


Deb talked a lot about picture quality and two-year commitments. Her scripted remarks must not have included a scenario wherein you cut the cord completely. If I don't mind waiting a year or two for movies and TV episodes to come out streaming, I told Deb, I could save about a hundred bucks a month.


There was a pause, a glorious pause, on the other end of the line.


That pause, my friends, was a beautiful thing. It was the sound of change.


For months cable has been saying cord-cutting is all hat and no cattle, that people will not abandon their cable TV unless under severe economic duress, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes in the December 29 issue of The Wall Street Journal. But with broadband TV becoming more than a pipe dream and Netflix's now-superb streaming service, real consumers are starting to take notice. This has not gone unnoticed by the moguls-there's a regulatory battle that involves rights to content and threatens net neutrality. Providers like Time Warner are already starting to notice how Netflix is using Time Warner's broadband and other companies to provide content they think they should be getting money for, and there's talk of figuring out a way to stop that from happening without a cost.


Happy is a business whose customers can be called couch potatoes, Hinkley writes. The cablers, with their known allergy to regulation, are reduced to going to the Federal Communications Commission for help. Need we say more?


So what did I do? I didn't cut the cord, not yet at least. Deb, my Time Warner Cable rep, miraculously found out that were eligible for a Loyalty Discount, which would bring our bill down to $120 a month. Didn't we get the offer in the mail?


So I went for it. We took the Loyalty Discount. We didn't cut the cord.


There are other factors. Hulu's content is far from comprehensive, for one. Whole networks aren't being offered and there's a whole wings of content that is available on the web, but not through my Blu Ray player.


Say you want to watch yesterday's episode of Days of Our Lives through your new streaming player on your TV. You will get this message: This show is available online at Hulu.com through your computer web browser. We do not have the rights to make it available on TV or mobile devices at this time we continue to work on securing these rights.


Go figure.


There's also trying to figure out watching local channels as well. And sports. And the shows we actually watch, on HBO and Showtime, still require customers to pay for cable first to even have access to them.


All that is going to change, it seems, and very soon.


Related articles


* Time Warner Cable Profit Rises 34% online.wsj.com
http://blog.timesunion.com/danielnes...-be-done/1188/
 

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I feel like I should get a discount for my cable service for December. Too many of the networks figure nobody is watching so there is literally nothing to watch unless you're a sports fan which I'm not (and resent subsidizing it). So I spent much of December watching Netflix instead of cable. I am evaluating whether it is worth having anything more than basic cable and keeping one premium channel at a time. I mean are 4 episodes on extended basic network worth $40? I don't think so and some of those are now available streaming.


I think it depends on how much of a couch potato you are and your expendable income. Some folks would feel their cable bill costs the same as a night on the town so don't care. Such attitudes may be dwindling along with the economy. But one has to wonder if the marketing folks at the cable companies are blind to this fact?


And add to that the VOD offerings on cable are often a joke with same movies being recycled every few months. They really must think we are stupid.
 

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I've got the twelve buck 'LifeLine' Comcast cable (the locals in HD and a mix of others including Portland OR and Bellingham WA) and Netflix. I'd go OTA if it weren't for the damned MultiPath. Hulu Plus doesn't offer enough more than Hulu and the networks own sites to make it worth the extra $8 a month, for me.
 
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