Finally, we have not a dying business but an entire dying industry: Cable TV is rapidly learning, the hard way, that it has no place in the Daffy Duck push-button home of the future.
The latest numbers forecast an ugly future for Big Cord. During first-quarter 2015, almost 180,000 people canceled their pay-TV subscriptions. In all, between 30,000 and 40,000 fewer people flip channels now than they did during the last Christmas Story marathon. That's bad enough alone, but the first quarter's traditionally known for very strong sales, which makes this news suddenly way worse.
ISI Group / Businesss Insider
It's the Price Is Right Yodel Guy mountain climb in reverse, but with the same ending.
As for Internet subscriptions, they're strong as ever and getting stronger all the time. Comcast recently reported having more Internet subscriptions than video ones, for the first time ever. Trust us, it will not be the only time, as customers are clearly fed up with paying sky-high prices for a thousand channels, especially when only one of them has Game Of Thrones. And since you can easily watch the Tyrion, Death, And Dragons Variety Fun Hour online (legally, you cheap bastards), along with virtually any other show, the idea of a whole package of channels has simply become unappealing.
HBOWatching this little shit get his is way more satisfying without 15 ESPNs tacked onto the bill.
Speaking of unappealing, let's talk horrid customer service -- a sad bastion of cable that should prove harder to get away with now that everyone's online and free to expose terrible work to their little hearts' desires. Like, Comcast upped earnings by 10 percent last quarter, thanks mainly to their Internet wing. But if they want to keep their now-very-loud customers happy, they'll need to improve on the little things, like treating people humanely.
Their current fix involves hiring 5,500 customer service reps and hundreds more service techs, along with re-training current workers on how not to be sociopathic assholes. Though they should probably also shelve their "everyone's a salesperson" gimmick if they truly want to make customers happy and keep them that way.
Kathryn Scott Osler/Denver Post/Getty ImagesWhich they don't, though it'd be nice to see them pretend, at least.
Or they could simply withhold refunds in exchange for vows of silence, as they've done in the past. Wait, not in the past -- they just fucking did that. A customer forced to pay $600 in late fees for a cable box he returned in 2010 received a non-disclosure agreement from Comcast, which essentially said, "You can have your stupid $600, but only if you agree never, ever to sue or even complain about our stealing your money."
ABC 6"Also, there's a $600 fee for sending you the paperwork."
Yeah, he didn't sign. Instead, he immediately complained to the news, who immediately posted it online. Coincidentally, Comcast issued the refund, also immediately.
One of these two approaches might keep irate customers from drowning your soon-to-be-cable-less company in social media outrage. The other definitely will not, and it will definitely bleed your bottom line faster than it already is. Choose wisely.
Jason listened to Pandora for free while writing this, because he is just the worst. Disagree over Facebook and Twitter so he feels better about himself.
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