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How I Ditched Cable for a Better, Richer Life


My new media experiment in which I canceled my cable, Internet, and landline phone (yes, I still had a landline phone).

This article was written by Mickey Goetz of, an online financial media network and education platform that provides active traders and investors with market analysis, real-time access to strategies, and in-depth training from real traders, real-time©. Learn more.

A trend in new media is emerging as high-speed Internet becomes "the standard" for viewing video, TV shows, sports, and more. This concept may seem like old news, but as you will find out in this article, new media may be changing right before our eyes and it may have major implications for networks.

As we all know well, the economy has been rough for many out there and this past month I decided to start my own austerity program and cancel my cable, Internet, and landline (yes, I had a landline... probably the only person on earth that still has one). I will be the first to say it felt like it was taking away one of my most prized possessions. I felt naked at first. I couldn't even turn on CNBC to hear them talking about people losing their homes, their jobs, and their cable/Internet/phone. But I'm not one to be stuck in the mud. I can change. I can be resourceful. I can make sacrifices like everyone else.

Malcolm Gladwell described it perfectly in his book The Tipping Point, when he said New York is filled with trendsetters. Even though I don't live in Williamsburg I am a trendsetter. So when faced with the challenge of not having cable/Internet/phone, I made the best of the situation. I stole Internet. But wait, that's illegal! Nope, you can "steal" Internet for free all over the city in cafes, parks, and many more locations.

China has been one of the first countries to provide free Internet for the country's citizens. Many may argue this is because they also censor that same Internet, but either way, I wouldn't be surprised to see the US and other countries begin to offer Internet for free as it makes our lives and businesses easier and more efficient.

New media has been changing drastically over the past five years with more and more people reading publications online and networks posting their premium content on their websites. I will admit it's really nice to be able to grab a remote and channel through different networks and DVR my favorite shows. But since I've canceled, I found it a lot easier than I thought. I can watch my duke blue Devils play every game on ESPN3. I can gleek-out on, and even interact in new ways with the website that I can't do with my TV.

I would be lying if I said it was worthwhile to pay a cable company more than $1,000 a year to get content delivered to me when I can go on the Internet and receive it for free. So when I am watching the traditional cable TV, it's annoying to have to sit through commercials because I'm already paying a lot for the content. The interesting thing is that when I'm watching content online, I feel fine about sitting through commercials even if they are annoying. Why? because it's free!

This new behavior of watching content online is growing dramatically and it's only a matter of time before a majority of people decide that it isn't worth it to pay for cable/Internet/phone when they can get it for free. We can probably assume what will some happen to these cable companies unless they start buying networks, like Comcast (CMCSA) just did in acquiring NBC from General Electric (GE). Media companies are having to reinvent themselves; newspapers aren't the only dinosaurs.

How does this affect networks and their advertising revenue? In my opinion it's going to explode their bottomline and make networks more efficient. Now that customers are heading directly to the Internet to view content, they're cutting out the middle man. Lastly, with products like Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and iPad, consumers are able to have one device to get all their content, whereas we previously needed four or five.

At the beginning of this experiment I was afraid. Afraid to give up something I've had all my life. Afraid to give up something I had grown accustomed to having. Afraid to give up that comforting feeling of TV white noise in the background after a long day of work. But once I got past those initial fears I've actually realized that, with a little ingenuity, I'm able to actually watch more of what I like and waste less time watching Seinfeld re-runs. Like others in the legion of cable-abandoners, I am a trendsetter. We live in an on-demand world, and only the best content will survive. I will never go back, and I bet that anyone who followed my lead would feel the same way.

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