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Content in a Plus World
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Content in a Plus World

Content in a Plus World

I remember a conversation I had with a friend five years ago about the future of media. He was arguing that the consumer wants à la carte options. I warned him to be careful what he wished for; that the cost of media consumption would increase when you started to unbundle the channel packages. Who was right?

There has been a big shift in the way people consume media, and that continues to change. Growing up in the 1980s and 90s, my parents paid for cable. We had about 100 channels and what we thought was endless content to watch. Then we got our first VCR. I was in heaven. I remember my family renting a VCR at the local video store and watching Back to The Future on VHS. I used to pretend I ran a movie TV channel when I popped in a VHS to watch a film. Is it any wonder that I got into media?

In college I was introduced to satellite TV. As a sports fan I now had access to college football games from all over the country. You can bet that on any given Saturday in the Fall, you would find me and my roommates watching hours of games and eating buffalo wings. Fun times.

But like a lot of consumers, I “cut the cord” three years ago. I still have a satellite dish on my roof, but it’s just decoration now. I was so proud of that day. Look at all the money I am saving! Still getting all of the channels I want for a fraction of the cost. Or so I thought.

Did I really cut the cord, or did I just pick up a cable substitute?

Now I am living in “plus” world. You know: Disney+, Apple+, ESPN+, etc. This is on top of my YouTube TV subscription. Which is funny when you think about it. Did I really cut the cord, or did I just pick up a cable substitute? Yes, the cost per month is cheaper, at least until you add up all the pluses. I heard someone at a trade show put it perfectly. “The plus just means you need that service plus something else.”

What gives? Why do I now have to subscribe to so many different services to get the content I used to get with one service? Because, like I told my friend five years ago, the cost of production will not change. In fact, the cost of production, like so many things in life, will only get higher.

Sports is the perfect example. Under the old cable system, you paid for ESPN regardless of if you watched the channel. So, part of your monthly cable bill included $7 a month just for ESPN. That is a taxation model. You pay taxes for services whether you use those services or not. And to be fair to ESPN, it costs a lot to produce a live sporting event. ESPN also has to pay big dollars to secure the rights to air the games. So if everyone cuts the cord and only the sports fans will pay for the sports channels, does that change the cost of production? Nope, it only changes how much you have to pay for the channel you want.

So, who was right? My friend or me? That depends on your personal content consumption. If you are okay only watching network TV, cut the cord and purchase an antenna. News flash: you can watch all your favorite broadcast comedies and dramas for FREE. If you are like most Americans and suffer from “FOMO” or Fear Of Missing Out, than welcome to the plus world. The world where you don’t want to miss that certain show everyone is talking about that is available only on Hulu. Wait, do we have Hulu?

If you are a business owner, how do you advertise your business in this new world? That is a topic for another blog, but if that FOMO is hitting you again and you can’t wait for the answer, feel free to reach out to me to schedule a call.

Scott Miller is the CEO of Centerpost Media and host of the Create, Build and Manage Radio Show and Podcast. You can find Scott on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter via “@scottmillerceo.” Centerpost Media is a marketing agency with a vision to help every business they encounter with their media needs by providing outstanding quality, service and value. Centerpost Media is the parent company to BizTV, BizTalkRadio, BizTalkPodcasts and Bizvod.