I was reading the local paper this morning when I came across an article describing the decline of subscribers in the Pay TV industry. The pay tv industry essentially comprises of both satellite and cable providers. I remember reading about this last summer, and while the trend was identified then it certainly wasn’t as glaringly obvious as it is now. Up until the most recent quarter, new subscribers were still outweighing the one’s that unsubscribed. There is a lot of speculation as to the reasons for the decline, but a few are certain; households are consolidating, continuously high unemployment, and the availability of free tv on the internet. Uncertain economic times coupled with increasingly abundant options for cheaper forms of entertainment are creating a deadly mix for the pay tv industry.
I was sitting around relaxing a couple days ago when a toll free number popped up on my phone. Typically I just let those go to voicemail but since I was bored I figured I’d see who calling. Well it turned out that my cable company Brighthouse was calling with an offer on a new plan they have available that they thought would be ideal for me. For only $5 more a month I could triple my current internet speed, an additional DVR box, as well as a home phone. Of course I told them I had no need for a telephone, but their smooth talking ways convinced me that I didn’t have to use it and an additional $5 was well worth the other add ons they were offering. Then I got to thinking, and I asked them a simple question, “do you offer a plan cheaper than my current one? If so, what is it??” Well the lady on the phone reluctanty told me that they had a new plan that was $5 cheaper than my current one, with all the add ons that I wanted, minus the telephone that I didn’t want in the first place. She admitted that they were in the business to call and save people money. Can you believe that they actually told me that? Needless to say I opted for the cheaper plan that met my exact needs, surprise…surprise.
Why am I telling you this? Well I do like to vent about issues in my personal life, but I also like to use my own experiences to offer advice to my readers. Always be aware that there are deals to be had, especially with your cable and satellite providers. Don’t let them fool you, they are hurting and they want to retain your business. Threatening a switch to another company or even a simple phonecall questioning their current plan selection could save you money and provide you with additional features. I’m embarrassed that my savings only came because they called me and not the other way around. Also, make sure the service they provide is meeting your needs and not theirs. I still can’t believe they purposely tried to snow me into a phone package, but I do feel like I won a small victory that day. I have no sympathy for these companies as their profits begin to decline, their customer service is lacking, and their offerings are slim and outrageous. Pay-for-tv companies are essentially the same as a car dealership and offers can be bounced back and forth between them to score better deals. Just remember the most important lesson, don’t be afraid to speak up, you’ll be surprised at the savings you can accomplish with just five minutes of your time.