Yesterday, The Atlantic published “The Wild West Era of Streaming TV Is Ending.” The subtitle of the story is “Cord cutters will soon need several subscriptions to watch all their favorite movies and shows—and the cost could look like the dreaded cable bill.”
Right from the start, there are several issues. First, you never could get everything just by subscribing to one or two services. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon never gave you everything and adding HBO didn’t fix it. Yet when you read the story you find sentences like “Between Netflix and Hulu, subscribers could watch most first-run movies and TV episodes on their computers for less than $20 a month. Throw in HBO at $15 more, and you basically had the complete package.” Yet the truth is you never got most first-run movies and TV shows from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon—it just never happened. You could get some and still can get some first-run movies and TV shows but not all or even most.
According to The Atlantic’s story, adding in Disney+ and Apple TV+ and you will find yourself with a bill that looks a lot like cable. There are a few issues here. So, we are going to break down why The Atlantic and everyone pushing anti-cord cutting like this is wrong.
The Math Doesn’t Work
According to The Atlantic’s story, if you had Netflix and Hulu you would be set. (Plus $15 if you want HBO, but most Americans don’t pay for HBO.) Right now, Netflix and Hulu cost $16.99 a month. Let’s add Disney+ at $6.99 to that and now you are at $23.97. Apple TV+ is rumored to be around $10 a month, so now you are at $33.97. Let’s say you want WarnerMedia’s new service that will include HBO, Showtime, and a collection of WarnerMedia programming and originals for $16 or $17 a month. So, that brings your bill to $50.97 a month.
The average cost of cable TV—and just cable TV no Internet—is $107+ a month. With this example, you get everything Netflix and Hulu has to offer plus content from Disney+, Apple+, HBO, Cinemax, and WarnerMedia for $50.97 a month. That means your average savings is $56.03 a month with a yearly savings of $672.
So, even using The Atlantic’s example, you are still paying less than the average cost of cable TV.
Most of This Content Is Not on Cable TV
The other issue here is the fact that most of this content is not on cable TV. Even if you drop all of the streaming services and go back to cable TV, not only would you be paying more but you will also lose access to hit shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and Stranger Things.
In addition, multiple studies have shown that over half of cable TV subscribers also pay for a streaming service. Why do so many cable TV subscribers do this? Cable TV no longer gives you everything you want on TV. So, can you really include the cost of Netflix and Hulu if you would also pay for them with cable TV?
We could keep going on and on pointing out issues with stories like this, but the main issue is the math does not work out. Second, you can’t get the shows most people want on cable TV anymore.
Now you may be wondering why we didn’t include any live TV services in this post. In short, that is because The Atlantic did not include any in their story. Also, even if you add a $50 YouTube TV cost on top of what we listed above not only would you get the live TV you want but you will also get a ton of content from Netflix, Disney+, WarnerMedia, and Hulu for less than cable TV.
Cord Cutters News emailed and tweeted David Sims. At the time of this posting, he did not reply to our request for comment.
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