Current Cord Cutting News and Options

There’s good news and bad news for the pay TV industry. The good news is that, according to new research from the Leichtman Research Group, America’s pay TV gained nearly 10,000 customers during the first quarter of 2015. The bad news is that growth represents a 10-year low for the industry. Actually, there’s more bad news, and it’s also more interesting. During the last year, 370,000 pay TV subscribers decided to cancel their subscriptions. The Leichtman data doesn’t indicate why these customers canceled their subscriptions, but we can reasonably argue that cost and lack of interest were among their reasons. And so were the increasing numbers of online video streaming services. Not everyone who cancels a pay TV subscription signs up for a streaming service, but those who choose to do so have a pair of new options to go along with existing services, such as HBO NOW and Netflix. It’s Go Time for Showtime The newest pay TV network to create its own standalone streaming service is Showtime. The service is now live, and free trials are available using Showtime’s streaming app, Roku, or PlaysStation Vue. Using any of these options, Showtime content costs $10.99 per month, which is less than the channel costs through many pay TV providers. However, if you’re already a Hulu subscriber, you can add Showtime for $8.99 per month. So if you haven’t seen them, now’s your chance to binge watch “Penny Dreadful,” “Nurse Jackie,” or “Homeland.” Nothing that Makes Sense Rhymes With “Lifetime.” Sorry. In what may not be the most anticipated cord cutting news of all time, Lifetime announced it wants to offer streaming of its older movie library with its Lifetime Movie Club service for $4/month. That $4 won’t even get you that bizarre new one with Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell; the subscription includes just 30 movies for the time being, some of which you may have accidentally seen at your grandmother’s house, with dramatic titles like “Too Young to Marry” and “The Bride He Bought Online.” If you enjoy movies that explore ways that personal tragedy can lead to growth and empower women to become stronger and more independent, this announcement is great news. Not Without My DSL Okay, so Lifetime movies are an easy target, we admit it. But look at the news another way; Lifetime is part of A&E Networks, which also owns A&E, History, the Military Channel, and fyi. So perhaps this is a low-risk test case for A&E. If it fails, people will say “What did you expect?” But if it proves viable, these other channels may soon offer streaming programming as well. So if you want to see war documentaries, get in touch with your feminine side first. Dreaming of Streaming? No matter what kind of programming you want to stream online, you won’t be able to stream any of it without a decent high-speed Internet connection. While neither Showtime nor Lifetime list a specific minimum speed, both recommend a minimum of a broadband connection. If your current plan isn’t fast enough to support high-definition video, upgrade to a new service that will give you the viewing experience you crave. Photo Credit: Shanti Knapp/Flikr

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Will Smith is a copywriter living in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His favorite word is “petrichor,” and aside from wordplay, he loves reading history, watching Dodger baseball, and racing with the Sports Car Club of America.

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