KSL INVESTIGATES

Gephardt: The Creeping Cost Of Cutting The Cord

Aug 25, 2020, 6:40 PM | Updated: 8:42 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – You might remember the phrase “cut the cord,” which refers to people trying to save money by nixing their expensive satellite and cable TV bundles in favor of a cheaper streaming option.

Well, streaming providers have taken note of the trend, to the point where cord-cutting endeavors have quietly left some TV watchers paying more than ever for their entertainment. 

From romance to riddles, happiness to humor, glamour to gore and whatever category “Tiger King” falls in, the entertainment industry has had us covered as we’ve hunkered down during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a shot in the arm for streaming companies. 

According to new data from television measurement firm Nielsen, “the amount of time people are spending in front of the TV screen viewing streaming content continues to grow” and now accounts for a fourth of our TV watching time. 

In a short amount of time, newcomer Disney+ now accounts for over 4% of total streaming time.

Netflix gets 34% of that streaming share, followed by YouTube at 20%. In a short amount of time, newcomer Disney+ now accounts for over 4% of total streaming time. 

“Now, you’re like – oh, I’m missing out on this show that everybody’s talking about,” said Chandra Steele, avid streaming content watcher and writer for the tech and computer industry magazine, PCMag. 

Steele cut the cord to save money, but when she crunched the numbers, she found the savings to be pretty thin. 

“I did not realize how much it added up to, for every sort of streaming service that I have,” she said.

Streaming services have gotten wise and began offering quality content exclusively on their platform. If you want to see Ozark, you must be a Netflix subscriber. If you can’t resist watching Baby Yoda in “The Mandalorian,” you need Disney+. Even traditional over-the-air broadcasters are getting into the streaming game with CBS and NBC now producing shows you can watch only on their streaming networks.

Streaming services are offering exclusive content to boost sales.

They’re even reclaiming shows they once shared with other competing providers for their exclusive streaming channels. 

No individual service is particularly expensive: $5 here, $10 there. But the cost of subscribing to different services so you can see the content you want quickly adds up.

“It used to be that you know, cord-cutting was to save you money,” said Steele. “And now I’m like, now you’re paying more than you do for cable.”

KSL has reported on the ways people are tightening their belts during this pandemic in this economy.

Streaming is not one of them, as 25% of households have added a streaming service in the past three months. Only 2% have dropped a streaming service.

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Gephardt: The Creeping Cost Of Cutting The Cord