For decades, cable has roped in millions of customers like me with the promise of hundreds of channels and thousands of shows. But in my 15-plus years as a subscriber, there’s one thing I’ve watched most: my bill.
Every month I pay it, and every month I think of cutting the cord. The reason is that there’s never anything good on—unless you’re a fan of The Shawshank Redemption (which is probably on two channels at once), or one of the 19 shows based on storage units or pawn shops.
Years of this feeling has brought people like me to a slow boil and caused them to pull the plug on their pay television. In the last quarter, 527,000 subscribers cut the cord. In the three months prior, more than 750,000 people cancelled their accounts—the industry’s worst stretch yet. It seems the only things stopping the rest us from defecting are hassle, uncertainty and incentive.