Thursday, February 9, 2012

Light of the World- What are You Watching?

I know it's been over a month since I last posted. I know I also said I was going to be more active this year. Funny how sometimes the best intentions can turn into indifference or laziness overnight, right?!

My wife and I recently moved to a new apartment and have been in a month-long “settling-in” process. We went from an 1100 square foot two bedroom apartment to a cozy 730 square foot 1 bed/1 bath unit. Our primary objective is to slash costs in order to position ourselves to be able to afford a nice house within the next couple of years. “What the hell does this have to do with media?!” Okay, I'll get to the point of this blog: media consumption.

In addition to slashing our rent, we canceled our cable subscription in order to save even more money each month. I know what you're thinking- “how can you get rid of cable and survive in 2012?!” Well, I guess we're about to find out. We realized two things about our television viewing habits: 1) we record most of the shows we like so we can both watch them together when it's convenient for us; 2) when our shows weren't on and the DVR list was empty, we spent a lot of time mindlessly flipping channels and stopping on junk shows we weren't really interested in. In short: TV became a background noise, time killing, zombie-fying drug. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying everything on TV is junk and not a worthwhile use of time. What I am saying is that when we got to the point where we weren't actively engaged in our selection of show, we were wasting time.

Now we will be watching shows via Netflix and Hulu. Using these media sources will put us in a more active viewing environment. We have to purposely choose a show or episode to watch, giving us more control over our consumption. Gone are the days of “seeing what's on” and spending hours scrolling through the guide. In a way, life without cable is freeing! We have more time to talk about what we're watching- discerning the message and being more studious of the content. We also don't get bombarded with 2-3 minutes worth of ads every 8 minutes [on Netflix there are no ads; on Hulu ads are limited and usually in 60 second segments]. I wonder how much less junk we'll buy as a result of being advertised to less?!

Cutting cable will also give me more time to put into writing. So, this blog might actually be enhanced and therefore more regularly maintained by getting rid of cable. I know this particular edition is short, but think of it as a prologue of things to come. Also, think about your own media consumption and look for ways to become more actively involved in what you're watching and processing. I look forward to the weeks ahead!


  1. Netflix has an excellent selection, and is very reasonably priced compared to cable. Some might see ditching cable programming as a leap of faith, but your right in the sense that it inspires a more interactive environment for the family.

    I think they are catching on though. Soon you'll see them bundling cable as a "free perk" for your network subscription. So the catch here is, being a consummate consumer only means service providers only find ways to milk the trends. So I hope, for both our sakes, the world keeps watching the Kardashians.

  2. I love Netflix! If only the movie industry didn't fight it, it might have an even better and bigger selection. I wrote a blog post back in 2009, on the business trends and models of TV.

    Alas, Poor TV!

    In it, I pointed out that Netflix and Hulu are steps in the right direction to give the consumer more control over their viewing. I like your point, Tim, that this can help us be more discerning.