Thinking Of Cutting The Cord? Programming We Can’t Live Without

I tried an experiment. Several months ago I cut my DishNetwork package from the 220 channel package down to the 120 channel package. My thinking was that my wife and I watched mostly broadcast stations and we could live without some of our favorite programs like Lifetime Movie, AMC, Turner Classic, Military channel, History International and a few more. We were going to watch more movies from Netflix streaming via our Roku.

Guess what? I miss my favorites. So I am making a switch. Yesterday I signed up for DirecTV and will get all of my favorites back plus more, for the same price I am paying for DishNetwork. Yes, it is one of those special one year deals with a two-year commitment, but I will get a better choice plus a HD-DVD and HD receiver for free. I will also be getting our local stations in HD on both of our HD TV’s.

So when I read about what others are watching and why cord-cutting is so hard, I thought I would share what I learned.

Broadcast still rules, but… Here’s some ammo for the broadcasters to bring into whatever the next standoff with distributors will be regarding retransmission-consent fees. The Big Four finished 1-2-3-4, which is somewhat surprising given the notion that the broadcasters are the TV equivalent of wallpaper, nice to have in the background but not essential. However, Martin also noted that most respondents who wrote in one broadcaster, wrote all of them. That may validate the criticism that each broadcaster has no real brand because they try to please everyone. “Most folks think of the four broadcasters as a monolith,” said Martin. “This may be because consumers actually watch shows on all four broadcast networks, or it could be because they have no idea which network their favorite shows are on.”

HBO subs really love their HBO. While it may not seem all that impressive that HBO finished behind all four broadcasters and three cable channels, it actually is quite noteworthy given that HBO is in less than one-third of the homes as those networks and costs an additional charge as a premium channel. “This equates to a 33% rating (similar to the broadcast networks) after adjusting for the relative audience sizes,” said Martin. No wonder Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes keeps dangling the prospect of HBO Go being offered outside the usual bundles.

I must admit I fell for the hype. I really thought I could dump my favorites and stream from the Internet to get the same content. But the reality is that streaming is not ready for prime time. Maybe someday in the future, but not today.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – paidcontent

Microsoft Xbox – Will It Be Your New Replacement Cable Box?

Reuters is reporting that Microsoft has been in talks with unknown media companies in an effort to obtain TV licensing for programming via the Xbox and other devices.  Rumor is that Microsoft is planning a pay per view subscription service over the Internet.  It would appear that Microsoft wants to go in head to head competition with Apple, Google and Netflix.

According to Reuters they state:

The maker of the Windows operating system has proposed a range of possibilities in these early talks including creating a “virtual cable operator” delivered over the Internet for which users pay a monthly fee.

Other options include using the Xbox to authenticate existing cable subscribers to watch shows with enhanced interactivity similar to how pay TV operators have sought to do over the Web, said these people.

Microsoft is also exploring the possibility of creating content silos and selling more individual channels directly such as a HBO or Showtime. It already has Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) ESPN on the XBox Live online service for example.

These people said a service may not arrive for another 12 months, but early discussions have been productive.

As I seat here at my computer, streaming video from Netflix, via my Roku, I can already imagine that this could be a strong possibility for Microsoft. If I were the Cable and Satellite companies, I would get prepared for a battle.

But there is good news for us consumers. We will ultimately benefit from lower prices.

Comments welcome.

Source – Reuters

ESPN Radio Launches App In iTunes Store

ESPN has launched its newest application to the Apple iTunes App Store for ESPN Radio. The app gives millions of ESPN Radio listeners access to live, crystal clear radio streams, fan favorite shows, the latest SportsCenter updates every 20 minutes, popular podcasts, play-by-play broadcasts, live scores, newsfeeds and text messaging and call-in capabilities directly to ESPN Radio and ESPN affiliate stations.

“Our mission is to serve sports fans the best audio wherever they are and whenever they want it on any device,” said Marc Horine, vice president of digital partnerships and sales development for ESPN. “The ESPN Radio app delivers that same great content to mobile listeners through a seamless audio experience while also allowing complete control to choose from their favorite stations, shows and podcasts.”

The ESPN Radio app is available on iTunes for $2.99 and includes:

  • Popular ESPN Radio Shows: Access to live audio from fan favorite shows like Mike & Mike in the Morning, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, The Scott Van Pelt Show, The Michael Kay Show, The Michael Irvin Show and many more.
  • Live Radio Station Streams: Over 15 ESPN Radio stations, including ESPN 1050 New York, ESPN 1250 Pittsburgh, ESPN 1000 Chicago, ESPN 103.3 Dallas and ESPN 710 Los Angeles.
  • Podcasts: Over 35 ESPN Radio podcasts available including The BS Report with Bill Simmons, Pardon The Interruption, Around The Horn and Fantasy Focus.
  • Live Play-by-Play Broadcasts: Listen in on ESPN Radio play-by-play for college football games in real-time.
  • SportsCenter Updates: The latest news from SportsCenter updated every 20 minutes.
  • Live Scores & Newsfeeds: Access to NFL, MLB, NHL, college and professional sports teams scores and news.
  • Text Messaging: User can send a message directly to the studio of an ESPN Radio show.

The ESPN Radio app adds another platform to access audio from, the world’s most listened-to online audience stream of any terrestrial broadcaster in the world. It reaches more than 420,000 unique listeners per month according to Ando Media, which measures nearly 7,000 global streams of audio worldwide. Additionally, is the largest, most listened to talk format stream, both terrestrially and via Internet-only streaming. It generates 1.9 million total sessions per month (an increase of 25 percent compared to last year) and the average session in’s audio stream lasts 2.5 hours.

The app is the latest from ESPN, following the recent release of ESPN Fantasy Football, the hugely successful ESPN ScoreCenter, ESPN Fantasy Football Draft Kit and the photo matching game ESPN Freeze Frame (formerly ESPN Cameraman). ESPN ScoreCenter launched in June to more than 75 countries, supporting 6 languages, and has been downloaded more than 2.2 million times. The ESPN Fantasy Football Draft Kit was launched August 1 and in just 4 weeks has been downloaded more than 350,000 times. ESPN Zoom originally launched as ESPN Cameraman in October 2008. Through several versions, it has been downloaded nearly 2 million times.