Unbundling TV…Are We Ready Yet?

Throughout fall of 2014, there has been a lot of talk surrounding the unbundling of TV services. One article even compared it to the music industry and how download services allowing consumers to purchase singles has crippled the gross revenue of the industry, fearing that this will only allow the same thing to happen to television services. Another article from Wired simply offers an explanation of what television networks are beginning to offer, and how it might affect consumers. If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of unbundling, you should read about here.

To give a brief explanation, unbundling of television services simply means that it will be possible for consumers to select the networks they want, individualizing their television experience, instead of offering the usual cable bundles that may soon be of the past. It also means that you might be able to purchase specific network subscriptions online…whoa.

Now that you’re familiar with the idea of “unbundling,” let’s talk about it. The article mentioned in the beginning of this post heeds some warning about the excitement surrounding this idea. Although it might be wonderful for HBO subscribers who really only pay for the cable bundle to watch Game of Thrones, it might not be so good for everything else included.

First, unbundling would possibly allow all television networks to offer online streaming services that you would have to pay for individually. This could potentially mean that you have to have multiple subscriptions to multiple networks to get the shows you want. Instead of one library for *most* of your favorite television, you now have to visit multiple websites to get the content you want. For the past three years, I have been an extremely satisfied Netflix user, and I would honestly be kind of bummed if the television shows offered there were removed and put on their networks service.

I’m a college student, soon to be grad, but let’s be honest, we’re all still poor and just trying to make ends meet for the time being. I don’t pay for Netflix and Hulu—it’s one or the other. So if unbundling meant that in order to watch How I Met Your Mother and Parks and Recreation I had to subscribe to two different services…well bye-bye to one of those shows! The same goes with a multitude of other television shows and movies offered on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant; if unbundling happens, we might say goodbye to our big catalog of TLC, The WB, The CW, CBS, NBC, and Fox television shows. And let’s be honest, that would be a sad world to live in—same goes for all of the different production companies that have their movies on those services…bye-bye simplicity!

For that reason alone, I don’t think unbundling would be successful. I think consumers would find it extremely frustrating to use 3+ sites to watch the content they want.

On a different note, the benefits of “unbundling” might be that consumers would be able to watch television in real time, something that isn’t currently offered via online streaming. Sure, you can watch it the next day, but what if you’ve missed out on all that real time drama? What if you’re only 10 minutes late to the game? What if you want to watch it, but an hour later and don’t want to commit to a service like DVR? Then unbundling solves that. Issie Lapowsky, author of The Great TV Unbundling Has Begun. But Be Careful What You Wish For, mentions “If content providers continue to launch their own platforms, as HBO and CBS have done, the future of internet TV will not just be unbundled. It will be deeply fragmented.” And to that I say, indeed. There are already too many apps on my phone and too many ways to get all sorts of information. This just seems like another thing this simple girl doesn’t need in her life.

That being said, I feel like there might be some common ground. If consumers were able to pick packages from cable companies that allowed them to only purchase specific channels they want, then maybe the idea of “unbundling” could work. But it would still be a bundle, right? Right. Cable companies could offer a certain number of channels for certain price points, and then you get to choose which channels, or networks, you pay for. Sure, some networks could be more expensive, but it might work.

Most television networks currently offer free online streaming for the current season of their television series, and I think it would be a bad move for the networks to individually offer consumers to pay for these services. I’m pretty willing to sit through five commercials every 7-10 minutes of television I watch for free online rather than suffer through jumping through the loops of paying for another streaming service—even if it meant having access to all seasons of commercial free television.

Overall, I see consumers being dissatisfied with unbundling. I think the initial idea is appealing—especially for those HBO subscribers—but the more television networks that take this route, the more consumers will have to pay. And that leads us to the question, well, what’s the point? There isn’t one. In my mind, it will put us in a circular pattern. It might catch on at first, but then I see consumers wanting to get all of their content in one to three places…like it is now. Unbundling is definitely a way to force consumers to pirate television and film, and I think it would definitely affect the gross revenue for television networks.

So unbundling…is the world ready or not? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Why I Am Still Single, and Why I Like It That Way

With the rise of social media and sharing of photos, we have become a culture that lives and breathes the idea that “our lives are so perfect” — at least online. In reality, relationships take up your time, emotions, and passions amongst other things, and it’s not always as happy as it looks.

Now, what would I know? I’m a single 23 year old girl who rarely actually dates people. We could get into a whole psychological breakdown as to why I’ve made these choices and conclude how sad I am that I’m not in a relationship, etc. However, I recently have started making changes in my dating life. Earlier this year, I decided to try online dating because maybe finding someone in a mutual friend circle or at the “right place at the right time” just wasn’t feeling realistic anymore. So I did it. And I hated it. Not because I wasn’t receiving messages, not because there were no attractive people, but mostly just two words: time consuming. I found myself getting annoyed at having to check my messages and respond to them, never mind having to filter through all of the ones that truly were a waste of time. So after a good two or three weeks with online dating, I deleted my profile. I found the process exhausting and made me even less interested in dating than I was prior.

The story doesn’t stop there. I recently went on a date. Yes, an actual, real date. At the end of the night, he leaned in to kiss me and my bodily response was to give him the cheek. I felt awful. He’d just dropped $60 on dinner and I couldn’t even give him a goodnight kiss? Nope. I called several friends (women and men) to confer. The consensus at first was generally, “give him another chance, you never know!” But the days following I found myself becoming annoyed at the constant contact (which let’s be honest, wasn’t even that much contact, just more than I’m used to), and annoyed at the things he said. I argued with myself wondering if I should “stop being so judgmental” or “should I lower my standards?” I have read a lot of articles recently that say that the reason so many twentysomethings are single is because our standards are just “too high.” Well, I’m here to call bullshit on that theory. Don’t settle. You can definitely give people a chance and put yourself in situations you might not normally put yourself in, but you by no means have to settle because you’re single. After speaking with another few friends about my uneasiness of moving forward, I decided that I indeed, had no interesting in seeing this person or continuing the relationship. They agreed with me that I shouldn’t feel bad, and that I should continue on my journey to find whatever it is I’m looking for.

I spoke with a co-worker today about my future and what my plans are post-graduation. Our conversation only solidified the lack of consistency I have in my life right now, which is totally okay. I’m 23! Why should I have to feel like I need to be rooted in someone, something, or some place? So here it is…my list of reasons as to why I am still single as a twentysomething and why I like it.

  1. You can go wherever you want. Not everybody wants to move all around the country (like me), but if you do, this is the time to do it. It’s easy to be selfish and make friends at this age. We’re all still learning at this point, so it’s okay to be inconsistent.
  2. You don’t have to settle. Like I stated earlier, be open to the idea of relationships with someone you might not usually consider, but don’t feel bad about it when it doesn’t work out. That’s just life.
  3. You answer to no one! I have become so accustomed to taking care of myself that when someone does peak an interest in me and starts asking me how my day was every single day and what I’m doing tomorrow, I get weirded out. Of course, with the right person, you may want (and will do) those things with them, but because you’re on your own, you get to put you as priority uno. And let’s be honest, how long is that gonna last?
  4. More room to make mistakes and figure out who you are. I have had a lot of friends who get lost in relationships and mold into whoever it is they’re with at the time. This is natural to some extent, but I think it’s healthy that we keep our independence, too. Making mistakes doesn’t necessarily mean a string of one night stands, but you are able to capitalize on opportunities (career, relationship, traveling) more often.
  5. This one might just be silly…but you get the whole bed to yourself. I like cuddling just as much as the next person, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t also love taking up all of the room on my full-sized bed every night, too!
  6. More time spent on meaningful relationships. Just because you’re independent of a significant other doesn’t mean you don’t have relationships to attend to. This is a time where you are able to really connect with your friends (of all genders) that you might not have time for once you’re in a committed relationship.
  7. More time to figure out what you want. The great part about being “alone” is that you get to decide what you’d like to do independent of anyone else’s plans.
  8. Being okay with being alone and even liking it. There was a long period of time where I spent making myself feel bad for not being a relationship only to find out I don’t want a relationship. It is okay to be single and like it that way. It’s still possible to find happiness, fulfillment, and success without the accompaniment of another person.

So there it is. Eight reasons as to why I’m single and like it that way. Today we are so into “shaming” — relationship-shaming, sex-shaming, race-shaming, age-shaming, etc., that I think we all get a little caught up in how the world sees us and we forget to reflect on how we see ourselves. Getting in touch with our feelings should be something we encourage in culture today, and finding inner peace with oneself is a great place to start.