After All That, We’ve Simply Reinvented Cable Television
— Updated on 24 May 2023

After All That, We’ve Simply Reinvented Cable Television

— Updated on 24 May 2023
Garry Lu
WORDS BY
Garry Lu

At the dawn of the streaming era, we genuinely believed we’d progressed beyond the need for cable television.

All of a sudden, the content we actually wanted to consume was conveniently in the palm of our hands. On-demand, without any of the extra bullshit we’d never make time for, and most importantly, no bloated monthly cost.

But as the most cynical codger on the block (i.e. me) will readily tell you, nothing pure can last in this morally bankrupt world of ours.

At least not when billions of dollars are on the line.

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What The Hell Happened?

Gradually, the studios began drawing lines in the sand, and what could’ve probably existed across a handful of platforms splintered into a dozen.

Then came a most unforgivable indiscretion, the breaking of the sacred vow: “We’ll never sell ads.”

Netflix had been the most prominent in this pledge, trumpeting the false virtue right up until they became the first to walk it to the back shed like a decrepit family dog, and would famously introduce an budget-tier subscription that markets towards audiences.

Now, the likes of Foxtel subsidiary Binge (Australia’s answer to HBO Max) has quietly transformed its Basic subscription into an ad-supported product, and soon enough, it may very well become the industry standard. It’s all about the bottom line, of course.

Streaming Companies Have Simply Reinvented Cable Television

The Price Of Keeping Up: Streaming vs Cable $$$ Comparison

So… what’s the monthly damage these days?

Assuming you have a well-rounded pop cultural + sport diet comprised of all the major food groups, here’s what it’s setting you back:

Service (Standard subscriptions w/ HD quality)Monthly Cost
Netflix$10.99
Amazon Prime Video$6.99
Disney+$13.99
Stan$16
Binge$16
Paramount+$8.99
Apple TV+$9.99
Kayo$30
Monthly Total$112.95

Compare that to the Foxtel Family Bundle + Netflix ($61 per month) or even the most premium Foxtel offering ($110 per month), and as much as it pains us to admit, the choice becomes very clear.

What’s more, we’ve inadvertently rewelcomed what I call The Buffet Fallacy: while every conceivable option has been served before you, how much time/appetite/capacity do you realistically have to enjoy it?

“The Great Consolidation”

Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav recently signalled a mass consolidation of streaming platforms on the immediate horizon to ensure cable television remains a relic of history.

“Whether we do it this year or in three years, I think eventually something like that will happen. If we don’t do it to ourselves, I think it’ll be done to us,” Zaslav explained at MoffettNathanson’s inaugural Technology, Media & Telecom Conference (via The Wrap).

“It’ll be Amazon that does it, it’ll be Apple that does it, it’ll be Roku that does it. They’re already starting to do it. And it makes sense. A lot of people will go to some of those platforms as an easier curation of finding what they like.”

But as involuntary as this all sounds, for the sake of an improved customer experience, the man is willing to play ball.

Streaming Companies Have Simply Reinvented Cable Television

“For me, it seems very clear that if we were to package this great product that we have with others, if we were to wake up tomorrow and in each market we’re the #1, #2, or #3 product, if we were marketed with two or three [streamers] for a specific price, it would be great for consumers and would probably reduce churn.”

“We’d both be marketing one product and it would provide a meaningful consumer experience. Not just on price but that ‘OK, I now have a bigger package of content that’s broader.’”

Zaslav added: “One of the challenges in the business right now is the difficulty for a consumer in aggregating the content that they love, entertainment, nonfiction, content, sports content. Everyone’s googling where is it? How do I get it?”

“It’s not rational and it’s not really sustainable because it’s not a good consumer experience, not sustainable because there are a lot of people in this business that are just losing too much money.”

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Garry Lu
WORDS by
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]