I have a mission for the new year. It’s to use this column and other forums to help media companies understand why consumers cut the cord from their cable or satellite television service and choose instead to rely on broadband-powered video to watch their TV shows.
Here’s why this matters: Because the responses I’ve received in the last three months of living the untethered lifestyle tells me there is a non-trivial population of TV lovers who want media companies to evolve and better meet their needs as cord-cutting consumers who don’t have cable but still live and die by the programs they love.
In fact, I’ve even enlisted my Twitter friends and followers in developing a wish list for 2009 for practitioners of the broadband-powered video diet.
But before I get to that, I want to address some concerns readers and friends have expressed about my cable-free experiment over the last few months. When I first ditched my cable service in October, I received a number of comments, Twitter messages and e-mails asking how, as a reporter at a magazine called TelevisionWeek, I could give up my cable service.
Let me set the record straight here. I love entertainment and have had a longstanding love affair with movies, television shows and books. From “Family Ties” to “L.A. Law” to “Seinfeld” to “Grey’s Anatomy,” falling for a TV show is part of who I am.
When I dropped my cable service, it wasn’t because I’d grown bored with the programs. I did it to see if there was a better way to watch TV—a cheaper way, a cooler way, a hipper way.
And it’s because I believe in and love television and movies and entertainment that I want to help media companies tap into the mind of the cord-cutter.
Media companies are painfully aware that they need to adapt to the changing consumer. While cord-cutters might be the avant-garde today, they’ll be mainstream when our kids grow up. A better understanding of what they want, how they watch TV and whether they skip ads can help networks, studios, even cable and satellite operators stay relevant, and maybe even a step ahead.
That’s why I asked my Twitter and Facebook friends who have or want to cut the cord for their wish list for a cable-free lifestyle. Here’s what they said:
“I want Mac Mini/Apple TV baby called the Mac TV to allow free over-air TV and full access to all U.K. online video services.”
“TV syndication via RSS feeds (think podcasts of prime time)”.
“Better access to the shows/channels I watch at an affordable rate. I'm thinking mainly sports here.”
“There needs to be a reliable source for reviewing/rating/referring people to Web shows.”
“I also want HBO shows, Showtime shows, BBC shows. Choice basically to create my own menu.”
“We need a better way to aggregate the content we like from various distributors. And I’m not talking about a box.”
“Centralized live sports streaming would be nice.”
“I want a truly networked home entertainment system.”
Thanks to @creativebloke, @andybeach, @influxx, @FilmTruth, @Alex_Veloz, @teamstclair and @alexandergordon!