REPORT #1,141: What happens when you ditch the cable company? Well there are recriminations, promises to do better and try harder. But at the end of the month, when all is said and done, you’re ahead about $100.
Monday, Feb. 29, 2016 – LondonOntario
Last week, after decades together, my wife and I got divorced – from the cable service and the landline telephone.
Oh there were the usual recriminations, the promises to do better, to try harder, anything to make it work. But really, too little too late. The relationship was over.
We couldn’t be happier.
Not only are we saving money apart, the house is quieter too. No more noisy commercials, no more stupid jokes, no more shallow and repetitive stories. Gone is that endless rotation of nonsense disguised as information.
At the end we had access to about 250 channels. More often than not we couldn’t find anything worth watching on any of them.
Okay, in truth we did have a few favourite times. Downton Abbey, Castle, Bones, Modern Family, Big Bang Theory and, more recently, You, Me and the Apocalypse. It turns out those happy hours are available for free via the internet – which means we can, you know, do it wherever we want anywhere in the house and whenever we want using our laptops, tablets or smartphones.
I’m a news junky and baseball fan. But there is so much news available by other means these days that the TV news programs had become background noise – out-of-date background noise much of the time at that. And it turns out I don’t so much watch baseball as listen to it. I think that’s called radio.
My wife, well she cheats occasionally, living a ‘different life’ in other countries to pursue her passion for super heroes, vampires and zombies. I pretend not to notice, although I must confess to peeking on occasion when she’s watching something particularly arousing involving some strapping dude in Genoa City. I suppose that labels us as kinky.
Of course there’s a lot of finger pointing about who or what is to blame. Any day now the president of CTV or Global or the CBC will once again be whining to the Canadian Radio and Television Commission about how they need a slice of cable fees to keep their stations afloat.
One wonders whether these people ever look at what their stations offer. Really, would you pay more to watch the truncated local programing provided by CTV London?
In its heyday CFPL-TV – that’s its official birth name – offered live local news and public affairs, sports and entertainment programs. Today local programing consists of two newscasts a day – one of 60 minutes, the other of 30, during which there might be 15 minutes of what you could actually call local information, and much of that in fact already known by anyone with internet connections.
But it’s the same everywhere. The media moguls cut back on staff, then express amazement when they lose customers.
Every day, it seems, on the newscasts offered by the CBC, Global or CTV will run some cute little clip they’ve ‘discovered’, usually as the brightener at the end of a dull newscast. Have a look, they’ll say, as they proceed to run an amazing car crash or a very amusing cat or an awesome kid or an angry politician, and afterwards they will happily announce five million people have already downloaded this.
As my wife usually says, “I saw that on YouTube, two days ago.” And you wonder, do the broadcasters ever listen to themselves?
Not that print is any better; actually often far worse. Hands up anyone who can find more than three relevant stories in the morning London Free Press you didn’t already know.
Yes, these are very tough times to be in the traditional media business. As a consumer of the news and entertainment they pump out, that is not my problem. It’s theirs. And they can’t solve it by giving us more of less, or in trying to do more with less.
As they teach in marketing classes, better is better. And these days we’re just not getting better from the likes of our mainstream media. I mean, just how many iterations of CSI are there?
Now this is not to argue life without cable or a landline telephone is nirvana in our household. We’re still putting our pants on one leg at a time, along with all those other little inconveniences of coupled life.
But we are saving $100 a month, money that can now be directed towards pursuits more, ah, stimulating. You know, like Netflix.