Cox Releases Low Cost Cable Package Sans ESPN
Recently, Cox released a lower-cost cable package that, surprisingly, does not include ESPN. For those sports lovers out there, ESPN is a must-have. However, for those people who spend their time watching other stations like the Travel Channel or Food Network, ESPN is an unnecessary channel. As it turns out, ESPN is one of the most expensive cable channels that cable companies offer to its customers. Does Cox’s unbundling of this expensive channel mean that it is finally moving towards an a la carte pricing method?
Now, this news shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who regularly reads our blog. In fact, we had a post up last fall discussing this exact move by the cable providers. Instead of providing channels individually for a specific cost, cable companies are just repackaging certain channels and offering other channels as premiums. This doesn’t necessarily provide a consumer with more choice, but it may reduce the strain on a consumer’s wallet.
Cox is marketing its newest cable package as a low cost alternative. But at $34.99, it isn’t really that low cost. When you factor in the cost of a cable box at around $10 a month, $45 a month for 20 channels doesn’t really seem like that great of a deal.
Instead, you could spend $8 a month on Netflix, $8 a month on Hulu Plus, and about $7 a month for Amazon Prime, which would give you access to thousands of movies and TV shows, both new and classic. And that do it yourself cable package will run you about $25 a month. You could even buy a little device like a Roku box for around $50 so you can watch your shows on your TV rather than your computer. This doesn't even include the myriad of free content options available on the internet.
While it is great that cable companies are moving forwards in its cable plan offerings, we can help but wondering if cable packages as we know it are a dying breed. With inexpensive devices that bring streaming content to your TV, as well as internet-enabled TVs looming over the horizon, cable providers may need to drastically shake things up to retain its subscriber base—and something much more drastic than a $35 “low cost” option without ESPN.