Before we decided to launch Kutko we had several discussions with friends and family revolving around their TV viewing habits along and experiences with the existing cable TV companies. When we compared all of our stories we noticed two common elements.
First, everyone had very different opinions about what they liked to watch and how they liked to watch it. Most of us have become very custom to using PVR's (Personal Video Recorders) to record shows and watch them at our own convenience, although several of our staff admitted that there are certain shows you want to watch live when you can because if you don't the wave of social media posts about that nights episode can spoil the show. There was a lot of discussion as well about what we call the 'water cooler' factor of certain shows.
You know those shows that it seems all your friends are watching and you discuss the details of last nights episodes the next day at the office. Most people admitted though that there is generally a 24-48hr grace period established within their social circles regarding discussions of episodes of said shows because PVR's are so commonly used. It's also because most of us have lives to live and want to watch what we want when we want.
Our discussion of social media did lead to an interesting discussion point about one of the major frustration points about TV in Canada in particular. There is a lot of confusion about why some shows seemed to be on at different times or even different days in the US versus Canada. We'll explore this in more detail in future post.
This of course lead to a discussion about what many people call 'binge viewing' a show. Some people will avoid a show for an entire season and then rent it on DVD or watch it on Netflix so they can watch all the episodes back to back over the course of a weekend. A lot of people said they loved this format but hated the idea of waiting 5 or 6 months for a season of a show to show up and wished more shows would do what Netflix has done with shows like House of Cards or Orange is the New Black and release an entire season at once.
So what is the best option? Ultimately I think that there is no right answer at this point except for the fact that it should really be up to each individual consumer to decide how they want to watch something and when.
One point of frustration with many of the people who still have cable was the On Demand feature that many cable providers seem to boast about. The biggest frustration was that binge watching for the most part is impossible to do. One person told us about their experience of wanting to watch the previous season of a specific show to jog their memory before the latest season started. Unfortunately the On Demand function of their cable provider only had a few episodes of the previous season.
It's definitely one of the odd elements of pricey cable packages. I mean if you are paying for a specific channel then shouldn't the shows that are tied to that channel be made available to you after they have aired for as long as you'd like?
It's one of the huge benefits of cutting the cable cord. One of the prime examples of this at my house is The Amazing Race. My girlfriend and I started watching the show last season and decided at the end of the season that we liked seeing all of the destinations they went to so we talked about watching previous seasons. There's no way we'd be able to do this with cable. There are currently 23 seasons on the US version of the show with season 24 currently being broadcast. Here in Canada the show is broadcast on CTV and you can watch about 4 of the last episodes of season 24 on the CTV website.
For only $8 (US) a month with Hulu+ all 24 seasons of The Amazing Race are available to watch courtesy of CBS who produces the show. This includes the current season as well and really this is one of the biggest benefits of cutting the cord. It's about legally paying a reasonable rate for content to the original content owner. This is just one example, but the point of this is that CTV along with the other Canadian channels for the most part just rent content from US networks and then pass on the high cost of purchasing these shows on to the cable subscriber. For that priviliage you get to watch it when they say you can watch it and you pay a premium for it and are generally locked into this with a contract.
It's no wonder that a recent survey in the US says that American cable companies have some of the lowest customer satisfaction ratings. You can read the article here.