Will Cord-Cutters Still Have to Pay Their Cable Bills?

In the second quarter of 2013, there was a net decline of 319,518 paid video cable and satellite subscriptions, according to One Touch Intelligence. Even worse, in the previous quarter all cable TV operators lost subscribers, including Cablevision, Charter, Comcast and Time Warner, in which cord- cutters were undoubtedly to blame. With pay-TV subscribers on the decline, big named cable companies are offering up their programming via the Internet. For example, ESPN recently divulged that it’s in talks to offer much more its channels through Web-based TV services. For cord-cutters looking to save a buck, this is music to their ears. However, they should think twice if they think they are going to get out of those monthly cable bills as those same big named cable providers – that also provide Internet service – are growing increasingly aggressive about billing customers based on how much data they consume.

For cable operators, this could be their golden goose. If subscribers no longer want to pay for traditional TV services, operators can instead adapt to the shift in service usage with corresponding data usage fees. Either way, cable companies have an equal opportunity to bring in revenue. Just recently, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Mediacom introduced these types of plans. According to Comcast figures, replacing HD video from cable with Internet programming would use around 648 gigabytes of data per month, which could cost customers an additional $60 each month with Comcast’s new pricing plans.

With over-the- (OTT) providers rising in popularity, and traditional video on the decline, data caps seem to be the only way cable companies can retain control of expenses, and revenues?