Do you gripe and gristle every month when it's time to pay your cable TV bill? You're not alone.
A June 2013 Cable Costs Survey by CouponCabin.com, a national consumer coupon organization, found that 45 percent of American adults think cable TV is a waste of money.
But here's the thing: Of the 2,046 surveyed adults (ages 18 and older), 81 percent reported that they are current cable or satellite subscribers. Surprising? Maybe not, says Russ Crupnick, a senior vice president and media industry analyst for NPD Group, an international industry research and consulting firm.
"Does cable seem expensive? Sure," he says. "But really, when you consider all the smaller costs of replacing the content you get from cable, it turns out to be a better deal for most people than you might think. I know; I did the math."
Here's a closer look at four reasons we're still paying for TV, even as we complain it's a waste of money.
Because We Like Sports
Let's face it, watching the big game after you know who wins sort of takes the competition out of the competition. So for many, the ability to watch live sporting events is reason enough to keep paying for cable or satellite TV.
That view is certainly supported by the CouponCabin study, which found that 43 percent of U.S. adults won't cut cable specifically because they don't want to lose their ability to watch live sports.
That's true for Christopher Prynick, a construction foreman in Hawaii. He says that while he's busy enough to live without cable TV, his sports addiction keeps him from cutting the cord. He watches football, basketball, and surfing.
"For surfing, I know I could go online and watch it, but that means hooking cables up to the TV, and that's a hassle," he says.
What's more, his cable provider, Oceanic Time Warner, has dedicated an entire channel to surfing, similar to things like the golf channel. That keeps Pryneck paying his bill because it's just plain easier.
Because You Have Kids
If you have kids, you know how dangerous it can be to threaten to take away their Saturday morning cartoons. Not good for your sanity.
"If you're a parent and your kid is into a cable TV show, you'll pay almost anything to keep it," says Crupnick. "That's why Netflix made a huge bet with Disney and created Netflix for Kids: To create a must-have for all parents."
But for now, cable has the parents - and some non-parents as well. Just ask Suzanne Anthony, a busy clinical psychologist who doesn't have any kids. But she does have a young niece.
"I think I could probably give up cable. I'm certainly busy enough not to watch TV. But I love having my niece over for weekends and so I keep it so she can have a few of her favorite shows," Anthony says.
Anthony says her niece doesn't watch a lot of TV at her house - the whole point is to spend time together - but even an hour a week is enough to keep her cable service.
"And I have to admit, it's probably just a rationalization to let me keep cable for myself. I like to veg out to my cooking shows," Anthony says.
Because You Want to Watch in the Now
Just as sports aren't as exciting the day - or month - after they take place, many people find that their favorite dramas, comedies, and reality shows are best watched on their original air date as well. And for that, often, you need cable, says Crupnick.
"Currently, it's going to be a real challenge to drop cable and still see all the shows you want to see because of all of the licensing arrangements. For instance, if you really like an HBO show, if you don't have cable, you'll probably have to wait a year or so before it comes out in the home entertainment window," he says.
And this lengthy wait time could be a huge reason why consumers are willing to pay for cable or satellite TV.
In fact, in North America, reality TV, as well as drama and comedy TV shows, are considered to be two of the 'four pillars' that are keeping pay TV alive, according to 2013 cord-cutting report by Deloitte. The other two pillars are sports and news, which we'll get into next…
Because it's Called News
If you wanted to watch news later, it would be called laters, right? And sure, there are now more ways than ever before to learn what's going on in the world - even newspapers have popular Internet editions.
And don't forget about the "fake news," like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, both Emmy-award-winning programs that are found on The Comedy Channel.
Those are two reasons Ann Cody, who runs her own business from home, keeps paying her cable company. She says that she realizes she might be able to get both shows via other means, like the Internet, but that sounds cumbersome.
She also likes to watch local news for local happenings and the weather.
"I live in Hawaii and national weather reports often skip over us, or they think our weather is always the same, so they don't get detailed. So I like to get it from cable," she says.
Again, she says she realizes there are many ways to get these things through the Internet, but cable is her preferred way and so far, it's worth the expense.
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