Cable Companies Employ New Tactics to Reverse Cord-Cutting Trend

Today’s customers want two things: personalized services and affordable bills.

In this light, many are pushing cable companies to adopt a la carte pricing wherein customers are able to pick and choose which channels they want and pay only for those rather than having to pay for a host of channels that go unwatched. While it appears that the a la carte movement is gaining some steam, for now customers are stuck with having to pay for nearly 200 channels while on average watching less than 10 percent of them.

In order to free themselves from having to pay for much more than they want, some customers have decided to cut the cord, so to speak, and drop cable altogether. But they don’t drop entertainment altogether, using a combination of the Internet, a device like Roku and an over-the-top (OTT) service like Netflix to enjoy the latest television programs.

“I am living without cable,” Samira Guyot, a cord-cutter who lives in Detroit, said in a recent interview. “I’m not living without television.”

Guyot is one of about 15 percent of customers who have either decided to cut the cord or are thinking about it. While that percentage is nothing to scoff at, however, it’s remained relatively steady over the last few years despite improvements in services and content—a figure which suggests customers aren’t more inclined to cut the cord now than they were three years ago.

To nip the problem in the bud, many cable companies are trying to figure out what’s causing some customers to flee and what they can do to bring them back.

“We know cord-cutters are extremely cost-conscious, but still looking for those basics: high-speed Internet, basic channels, HBO and access to online content,” explains Jason Gumbs of Comcast. “We’ve realized the Triple Play or Quad Play (options) we offer [aren’t] for everybody, and subsequently we’ve tailored our products for our users.”

For example, the company now offers an Internet Plus package for $49.99 a month (for the first 12 months) which allows customers to use the Comcast app to stream content on their television sets. Similarly, AT&T’s U-verse offers a TV Everywhere app that allows customers to enjoy programs on their mobile devices.

All of this is good news for customers who appear poised to get the entertainment they want on their most convenient devices at a rate that doesn’t break the bank.