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01/06/15

Stream team: Why the idea of traditional cable and satellite TV needs plug pulled

How often have you heard this, as it relates to cable television and satellite plans: Why can't you just pay for the channels you want to watch?
That thinking is shunned and discarded from the likes of Verizon FIOS, Comcast and other heavy hitters within the industry who believe that they're delivering a premium service and already offer enough in the way of bundled discounts that consumers should be reveling in that pricing plan.
Customers, however, have a different view. They are paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $100-200 per month, and realistically only are watching a handful of channels or using the internet sporadically, at least the majority of them anyway.
With that, you have customers cutting the cable cord (or at least downgrading) and opting for streaming services that are remarkably low in pricing (Netflix, Hulu, etc.), yet still offer enough in the way of entertainment to justify dropping their monthly cable bill significantly.
The influx of the streaming services may be shifting the balance of power back to customers to some degree as networks, cable channels and pay services alike are starting to strongly consider offering their channels and subsequent programming for a monthly subscription fee in addition to or instead of being part of a bloated cable or satellite channel lineup.

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Take for instance the latest news from Dish Network, which is set to offer ESPN as a monthly subscription channel, in addition to other networks as part of that $20 per month fee, including ESPN 2, TNT and CNN. Dish Network is calling this "Sling."
This bold move should only strengthen the movement of those who want to cancel their cable and piece together a plan by using streaming services to complete their television needs. If more channels follow suit and take the same path as ESPN and others, the cable and satellite industry is going to have plenty of concern for their financial future and bottom lines.
In the long run, this may force cable to rethink not only their pricing strategy but also how they bundle their services and channels. While most customers like the idea of aggressive pricing for cable, internet and phone together, they're not quite as thrilled with 200 plus channels when all they really want are local affiliates for news, for example, and maybe an HBO or sports channel.
ESPN may ultimately become the catalyst that sparks real change in the cable and television world, specifically giving customers options that they desperately want and need in a marketplace that is force feeding the status quo, when all they really want is a fair alternative to how they watch and pay for their television services.

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