Sky’s “cool problem” – Cutting the T.V subscription cord, reality or perception? Digital media consumption in 2019

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July 19, 2019

It’s something that I hear on a regular basis, “have you got rid of Sky yet?”. I almost always feel guilty and very un-cool when my reply is “no I haven’t”, sometimes feeling like the last person on planet earth that pays for a monthly 1990’s style T.V package.

I have also lied in response to this question, with a reply of “yes” just so I can avoid the judging eyes of my friends.

However, what I don’t divulge is that I also subscribe to BT Sport, and I have in the past been a subscriber to MUTV, I know I know judge me, I mean I judge myself massively for the sheer expense that leaves the family home every month, just for T.V. Simply saying that you have a Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription, is far cooler with the sometimes-millennial audience that surrounds me in my digital marketing bubble.

The Rise of Internet streaming platforms

So why do I do it? Well I’m old, I mean I am older than I once was, and the thought of plugging a laptop in to my T.V to stream Netflix or even deal with the constant buffering of the content that I am trying to watch is not what I need at this stage in my life. Particularly, after becoming a father for the second time 6 months ago (shout out to Piegey aka Elijah, but what mad man calls their children by their real names?).

An example of my issues surrounding cutting the proverbial cord became apparent when I was in a conversation with my uncle recently. He had been attempting to watch the Champions League final via BT Sports coverage on YouTube. He is also a big Tottenham Hotspur fan, however, the sheer amount of individuals trying to access the stream and speed of his internet connection meant that the coverage was sometimes distorted in appearance and laggy (technical word), in its attempts to stream smoothly. My uncle is in his 50’s guys, the thought of me dealing with that issue at 50 doesn’t bare thinking about, my reaction and moaning that my wife would have to endure, is well, intolerable. So, is it just me that is paying for a monthly Sky T.V package? Well the stats suggest otherwise.

At the end of Q3 in 2017, Sky had a subscriber base of 8.82 million, all of them taking one of their many T.V packages (pause for pondering and stroking my beard). By late 2018 this number is at 9.64 million households, hmmmmmm (strokes beard again). I’m starting to feel like there is a pattern here of sensational headlines that capture readers with “cool & of the time” news about Sky’s subscriber base declining when in reality, the stats would suggest otherwise.

Why do people continue to subscribe?

Well for me, the technology is not yet at the level that would enable us to cut the cord and feel like the product we would get would be as good. Sky’s coverage after all is so well polished. What I often do in my very boring and sometimes long evenings, that go in to the 2am hour with the new-born keeping me up, is to scroll through twitter and look at the coverage takes that individuals comment on. Last year’s best example for me, was Amazon prime’s US Open tennis coverage with the reems and reems of tweets of people slamming the awful coverage that was being streamed. The themes that were evident throughout the twitter world, were criticism of no real studio coverage, & no real analysis of the event that was taking place, combined with poor video & sound quality. Well, be careful what you wish for guys, don’t expect Sky’s coverage at the £7.99 monthly price point that Amazon offers its Prime subscription for.

Another example of why people continue to subscribe to the Sky platform is the sheer variety of what’s on offer. As a family, we all have different needs. My Wife, The Walking Dead, me, ALL of the sports and my 3 year old daughter (and secretly me), Peppa Pig. If I was to subscribe to all of the individual platforms that are available to meet all our “needs”, you wouldn’t be far off what leaves our house to go across to Sky every month. My advice, get yourself the Sky box, even if it feels like going backwards!

So Sky, continue to be mine and 9.64 million other subscribers dirty little secret hiding in plain sight, with your superior coverage and great analysis of the live sporting events that I will be watching. I’ll wear the subscriber to Sky badge with pride, well, even if I sometimes have to hide it!

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