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Ditching cable? Your essential guide to cord-cutting

Mel Normoyle seems like your typical Long Island cable TV cord-cutter. She’s 30-something, wants to save money, and has zero loyalty to the cable industrial complex.

Before moving from Holbrook last year, she shared the monthly cost of a Verizon Fios hookup with her landlord. But after relocating to Selden, she decided to cherry-pick exactly what she wanted to watch — Max, Disney+ and Crunchyroll (a streaming service for animé aficionados).

She now splits the broadband bill with her new landlord, for a total monthly cost of $88.98, and monthly savings of $40.

The verdict? “Honestly, this works perfectly for me,” she said. “I have access to any and all the shows I enjoyed in the past and a lot of new ones I might not have seen otherwise.”

Normoyle, 39, is what’s called a “jump ball” in cable TV industry circles, meaning that when a subscriber moves to another home, it’s literally a jump ball (toss-up) as to whether he or she will continue to subscribe. Because of her age, she’s a member of a cohort that increasingly will not, say industry experts. Most younger people (in their 20s) have never even had a cable hookup, and there’s a term for them, too: “cable nevers.”

Cord cutting has been around for as long as there’s been a cable TV cord to cut. The practice gathered force in the mid-’90s when cable TV subscription prices first began to soar, then reached a milestone year in 2013, when a quarter-million homes in the United States cut the cord, marking the first year-to-year decline for cable and satellite TV subscriptions, according to industry figures.

So far in 2023, the major pay TV services, which include cable, have lost 6.7 million subscribers while the big internet-based services, like YouTube TV and Hulu+ Live TV, have added 1.25 million, according to Durham, New Hampshire-based Leichtman Research Group, which tracks entertainment industry trends. A widely cited statistic by accounting firm PWC says the total number of homes paying for cable and satellite TV will drop below 50 million by 2027, from 64 million today (100 million in 2016).

The reasons are complex, but also painfully simple. The full price of a cable or satellite subscription, with a few premium services attached along with a broadband connection, can approach (or exceed) $300 per month per household.

Fueled by outrage, but also motivated by opportunities, cord-cutters now have more options than ever before. Jared Newman, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based tech journalist, has produced a newsletter for cord-cutters since 2016, or eight years after he took the leap himself. Most of his Cord Cutter Weekly’s’ 30,000-plus subscribers want to know the same thing — how to save money — but are surprised at just how complicated the answer to a simple question can be.

“I start off by saying what I’ve always said, which is that cord cutting is not this magic solution that gives you every single thing that you would ever want to watch for a fraction of the cost. Newsday

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