Think beyond 'channels'

One of the first things that everyone inevitably thinks about when they begin to think of cutting the cable cord is 'how can I live without {insert channel name here}'    

We get it.  We hear that question every single day from Canadians we talk to during the initial free phone consultation we offer.

They are tired paying for dozens of channels you don't want or use in bundles to get access to one or two channels you do want.   

That's traditional cable though. It's a world of channels and bundles. That's the way it's been for years and for many of us it's the only way we've ever known.   

For that reason it's tough to imagine any other way of watching TV. 

First off it's important to understand that there will never be a model that offers you only the channels you want for an affordable price. This is because everyone wants different things. It's also because everyones tastes are different and evolve and change over time. We know because we talk to people every day about their specific tastes.

The truth is any channel you like to watch is a bundle of content itself. So even if you could just subscribe to one channel you would wind up paying for content you don't want to watch just to get certain shows you do want.

Here's why you want to think beyond the channel model. Think of a channel you think you couldn't live without. Now think of the show or shows you like to watch on that specific channel.   

Now ask yourself the most important question. In the 12 months of the year, how long is that specific show or shows on? How many new episodes in a year long period does that show you like produce and broadcast?    

The truth is that most shows that we like to watch only produce between 10 - 22 episodes in a season and many of the seasons are stretched out over a 12 month period. 

Let's look closer at a few of the most popular shows on TV. A favourite of ours is AMC's The Walking Dead. Each season of this show there are usually 16 episodes. Wikipedia gives us a good overview of the episodes of the 2016-17 season and the broadcast schedule.      

As you can see the show starts in November and runs until mid December. It then takes a two month break and comes back on air in February and runs until early April. That is 16 weeks of episodes or 3 months.

Let's look at another show that is on one of the basic networks. ABC's Modern Family that Canadians can watch on ABC or CityTV. What can Wikipedia tell us about their broadcast schedule? 

It's similar to the Walking Dead except they have more episodes and start earlier in September. 19 weeks of episodes with breaks December and April. So Modern Family is only on for 4 months of the year.

So why are any of us paying for channels in months when the shows we like aren't on? With streaming you don't. Sure you may like other shows on some channels but even if you do, most people don't like every show on that one channel. 

So paying for one channel for only one or two shows that are only on for 3 or 4 months a year is the same as paying for a bundle of channels you don't want just to get what you do want. You are paying for that channel for reruns and other filler content for the other 8 or 9 months.

Let's also not forget that you can catch up on a show at anytime when you switch to streaming because most of the services have full seasons on demand to catch up on whenever you want.  As a cord cutter of 6 years that is something I do a lot now with the majority of content I watch on TV. 

Streaming is a way to pay for the content you want only when you want to watch it. Want to watch Walking Dead? Subscribe to SlingTV, Direct TV Now or AT&T Watch for 3 months of the year when the show is on, more importantly walk away from the subscription when the show goes on hiatus.  

The other important factor to remember about channels is that most 'channels' in Canada don't own or produce much of the content they show. They only pay for the rights to broadcast certain content here in Canada. As such the channels you may be used to watching a program on are not the only place you can access that particular content from.

A perfect example of this is the above mentioned show Modern Family which most people associate with being broadcast here in Canada on CityTV which is owned by Rogers. The show though is actually produced by the American network ABC. In fact most of the shows that Canadians watch on Canadian owned cable channels are in fact made by a US channel. So for clients who want to stream it you can use ABC's streaming service Hulu to watch the show.

At Kutko we help people access a variety of streaming service from all over the world and that means for any programming you like to watch there is more than one place it can be found.. 

That's why the notion of channels is something you want to forget about. Channels are a concept that will eventually wind up extinct in a world of streaming. 

This is part of the process we take every client through, how to think and watch TV in a whole new way.