The increased availability of video content and the rising cost of traditional cable programming are prompting a growing number of consumers to “cut the cord” and ditch their cable bundles for stand-alone high-speed internet. The decision to move away from the traditional Cable/Internet/Phone package in favor of an individual product – most often high-speed internet – is often referred to as unbundling.
Content applications like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime have made the most popular TV shows and movies available online for streaming anytime, anywhere. Additional episodes and movies are available for purchase via applications such as iTunes, Amazon and Google Play. This expanded availability has made internet-only unbundling a viable option, as consumers can now find nearly all of their favorite content online.
Further, local programming continues to be available within traditional transmission areas. This programming can be accessed with minimal investment in an HD antenna, also known as “bunny ears”. The programming itself, including local live sports, is free.
With content readily available by other means, rising cable costs are often the catalyst that leads consumers to cancel their cable service. The FCC reported that “basic cable service prices increased by 6.5 percent [to $22.63] for the 12 months ending January 1, 2013.” (FCC Report via ARS Technica) And that 6.5% increase is not an anomaly; according to the same FCC Media Bureau’s annual survey of cable rates, the average monthly cable bill has risen about $2 to $3 per year for the last two decades.
A related benefit of unbundling is that it gives consumers more control. Consumers can stop paying for content they don’t want and can choose specific content a la carte and on demand. Why pay for the additional cost of channels you won’t have the time to watch, when there is the option to pay individually for hand-picked content or pick from a library of media, accessible via an affordable monthly fee?
Nationally, a recent study by Broadband Communities revealed that 7% of MDU dwellers reported cutting the cord, and 10% reported that they had never subscribed to a cable video service. Rates are even higher among the youngest and oldest age groups.
Among residents in the tech-savvy Seattle/Bellevue area, we expect this rate is higher and growing at a faster rate than the national average. We frequently hear from our customers that they rely on streaming for their video content, rather than traditional cable. In a poll of our followers on Twitter and Facebook, we found that only 20% of our customers are using traditional cable for TV content. Most survey respondents use an over-the-air (OTA) antenna (also called bunny ears) to pick up local, OTA channels, in combination with a streaming device like an Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox, or Roku.
As a member of the property management team, you can help a resident eager to unbundle by familiarizing yourself with the OTA channels available at your property, the basics of common streaming devices, and through learning which applications are available on each device. There are over forty OTA channels available in the Seattle area, with slight variance depending on what part of the city you are in. For listings of which channels are available in your zip code and information on channels that can be viewed in HD, you can head right here.
In combination with a Smart TV, residents can hook up a number of different streaming devices to expand the selection of content available. A few options to consider are: Roku, AppleTV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Tivo, Netgear NeoTC, and DVR. Each device offers a different mix of built-in applications or services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Plex, Amazon Prime, and iTunes. Streaming applications often require an individual subscription, but offer hundreds of movies and TV shows which you can access on-demand. Regardless of which combination you opt for, a high-speed CondoInternet connection will allow you to download new content in seconds. Many residents are probably forgoing the TV and streaming these websites on their home laptops.
The CondoInternet staff is happy to act as an educational resource to help your staff members or residents to navigate any questions regarding their individual media setup. Our team is also available to provide a streaming seminar for any interested parties at your building.
-The CondoInternet Team