The real price of cutting the cord

Bradley Piros, Assistant Sports Editor

As of the last five years or so, the majority of people are switching to online streaming services to watch their television on the go. As of 2018, over 33 million Americans have cut their cable subscription, while an astonishing 186.7 million still pay for their outlandishly expensive cable package.

My family had Charter cable while growing up and we kept it because I began to really enjoy sports. Having a cable subscription was the easiest way to watch live sports. While that still may be the case, other streaming services are making it incredibly simple to watch live sports on all sorts of other platforms.

Two years ago or so, my family dropped Charter cable. It just got too expensive. We floated around from streaming service to streaming service. I remember trying out PlayStation Vue, but we didn’t really like it.

I recommended YouTube TV to my parents because I had only heard good things about it. We tried out the free trial and eventually decided that this is the one we should go with. We’ve had it for about a year and a half now and have had zero problems with it. It had all my local channels from back home, including Fox Sports Midwest where I watch St. Louis Blues and Cardinals games.

Everything was great, until yesterday morning. I got a text from my dad saying that YouTube TV would be dropping the Fox Sports regional channels. That’s because YouTube TV purchases the rights to these channels from Sinclair Broadcast Group. They were unable to reach an agreement with Sinclair, therefore the channels will be dropped. YouTube claimed that they were paying Sinclair too much for the channels and that there just wasn’t enough viewership.

Does it make sense from a business standpoint? Yes. But my point is that it’s getting harder and harder to find all your favorite things on TV in one place nowadays.

This kind of stuff happens all the time. While it usually doesn’t happen to entire channels, it happens with TV shows all the time. Take Friends for example. Netflix paid up to $100 million to keep the show for just another year. Last summer, WarnerMedia outbid Netflix $85 million for the 90’s sitcom for five years, totaling a staggering $425 million.

It’s all outrageously expensive. As a family, we pay for four streaming services to watch TV and two more to listen to music. We pay $15.99 a month for Netflix, $11.99 a month for Hulu, $9.99 a month for WWE Network and a whopping $49.99 a month for YouTube TV. My parents pay $88 a month so we can all watch TV. Meanwhile, I pay $14.99 a month for Spotify and my brother pays $9.99 a month for YouTube Red.

This all started because now we have to find another streaming service that has regional Fox Sports channels. The next logical option is Hulu TV, but by the time we pay for a bigger DVR and multiple screens (which are both $10 add-ons) we’re talking about $75 a month, at which point we might as well just go back to Charter.

In short, cutting the cable is not cheaper like some people make it seem. When you add it all up, it costs way more than any sort of cable subscription would cost.

Because let’s face it, each streaming service has specific shows that the others don’t. If I want to watch Stranger Things, I have to have a Netflix subscription, if I want to match a Marvel movie, I have to have a Disney+ account and if I want to watch live sports, I might as well buy a ticket, get in my car and just go to the game, because that might even be cheaper.