Cable TV Industry Losing Record Numbers of Subscribers

For years, the amount of time I spend watching tv has dramatically been decreased to practically nothing. Aside from a few number of shows that I still enjoy, there’s nothing really exciting on. However, this article is not about the quality of tv—it’s about the alternative choices.

In my current house, there are six televisions all set up with boxes from AT&T UVerse. I don’t get into the downsides of AT&T UVerse here, but let’s just say being able to only watch 4 different channels at any one time across all 6 boxes is an outright crime! The worst part about this is that when that 5th person wants to come on and view a different channel, he or she has the ability to either watch one of the 4 channels being viewed or kick off the newest person to turn on their tv! Sorry, I said I wasn’t going to get into it, so let’s move on!

According to the Associated Press, eight of the nine major subscription-TV providers have lost 195,700 subscribers between April and June of this year. This group provides TV services to about 70% of the country, so these numbers equate to 0.2 percent of their 83.2 million customers. This might not seem like a lot, but if this trend continues, who knows what may happen.

Actually I have some theories on that! First of all, why are people leaving their tv services? One major contributor to this downsizing is the economy. Naturally, when times are tough and unemployment rates are high, people begin to trim expenditures where they can afford to. “Afford” in this case means where people are willing to let go of some luxuries. For some reason, they’d rather eat than to watch tv.

In the last few years, Verizon, AT&T and DirecTv have all been ‘stealing’ customers away from the big cable companies like Time Warner and Cox which would explain for their continued losses year after year, but now all of these companies are starting to feel the burn. Another contributing factor in the losses is assumed to be Internet video sites. More and more younger people are getting their entertainment fix on sites like YouTube, Hulu and Netflix. In the case of Hulu, users are opting to wait a day or two before their favorite show appears on the site opting to watch it there instead of sitting in front of their tv.

Even for those wishing to watch Hulu on their tv, they can do so now with their Blu-ray player or Xbox system. YouTube and Hulu are free while Netflix charges $7.99 for the streaming of any available DVD they offer which includes feature films and plenty of television shows that have appeared on DVD discs. Hulu Plus offers customers the ability to watch shows online with less commercials and usually a lot sooner than the free users. No matter how you slice it, these online services can undercut tv subscriptions any day of the week.

However, as the paradigm shifts, we can surely expect an increase in fees that we pay to those online services because afterall, they have to pay for the content too and what do you think all the tv and movie studios are going to charge them if they can’t get their money from advertisers?

My two cents

There is no direct comparison between cable tv and Internet tv simply because with Internet tv, you have to find everything you’re looking for and constantly change videos as each of them end and that requires work. Part of the enjoyment of watching tv is having the never-ending flow of programming at your disposal without having to get up and do anything about it.

As for me, I spend most of time at a computer both for work and pleasure, so it’s a natural thing for me to watch tv and movies online. However, I don’t watch much of anything anymore due to my hectic schedule so I could do without the tv service and most of the online stuff, but I’ll never get rid of my Netflix!

Ford's New Spokesman is An Orange Puppet

When we think of car commercials, we think of sweeping pan shots of a country hillside with winding roads that are always wet, yet the sun is shining brightly without a cloud in the sky. A brand new car then makes its way down the road usually swerving out of the way of random objects to show its excellent handling. I could go on all day with the amount of clichés you find in just about every car commercial, but let’s not. Instead, I want to explore some newer ways of car advertising.

I think one of the funniest car commercials I’d seen in a long time was the Kia Soul commercial where there are all these hamsters are stuck on the road in their running wheels not going anywhere and then out of the blue, a Kia Soul rolls up blasting some music with two hamsters inside dressed down and rockin’ out with sunglasses while tapping their paws on the door frame. Now, although the ad didn’t make me want to go buy a Soul (mainly because I had just bought a new car), it did accomplish something that’s probably more valuable: it made me remember what the product was.


Now, on to the orange puppet! His name is Doug and the current ad campaign has him hanging out with John, a Ford employee set out in the Los Angeles area to promote the new 2012 Ford Focus. There are two sides to this campaign—the first being the promotional side where they discuss and showcase the car’s features and the second being the comedic banter between the two.

Doug is somewhat obnoxious, egotistical, maniacal and even a bit sexist from time to time, but he’s FREAKIN’ hilarious!! I happened to catch the video on YouTube just off the whim and I immediately subscribed to his channel, focusdoug and proceeded to watch every single video that he has uploaded. Now, I really want more. If you like the sort of dry, dumb humor that you can find on a show like The Office, you’re going to love this! Here is one of my favorites to give you an idea:


In today’s world, the younger generation is continuing to drive market places and essentially change the face of advertising. While I grew up watching McDonald’s commercials with perfectly designed food products, today’s kids are growing up with Dominos showing home-grown photos of actual pizzas delivered to their customers—the not-so-great looking ones included. It’s the generation that is Internet-based and socially driven. They practically do everything online from sharing videos, discussing trending topics and communicating in almost every way. It’s no wonder why Ford has chosen this forum to broadcast Doug to the masses.

Social Media Advertising

Just a few years ago, every major company was flashing their “dotCOM” all over the place in hopes that you’d come to their website. Now, everywhere you look is a Facebook or Twitter link with phrases like “Like us on Facebook” and “Follow us on Twitter”. The idea is simple. Rather than try and get people to remember your website, all you need to do is send them to a site they are already on and interact with you there. At this point, you can create fun little games, phone applications, interactive surveys and more.

Users like this because they’re already on Facebook and more importantly, they know how it works.

With new ad campaigns coming out featuring a more toned-down appearance and showing that large companies have a sense of humor about their own products, it’s easy to see who they’re marketing to. Whether you like or not, websites and services like Facebook and Twitter are here to stay and social media will slowly become the new form of advertising and promotions.

My two cents

While some people call these ads gimmicks, I actually find them to be smart. If we look back into history, there have been a lot of “gimmicky” characters out there: Disney has Mickey, Dominos had the Noid, Geico has the Gecko and the Cavemen, McDonald’s has Ronald. No matter what your feelings are on these mascots, the point is that they make you remember the products they’re pushing.

In my opinion, I hope Doug sticks around. Heck, make a TV show with him, sell him to consumers, make t-shirts or as one YouTuber said, “Ford should give away a free Doug with every Focus purchase.” The response to that last one from focusdoug: “We’re working on that.”

iPad Poised to Take Out Radio and Other Media

A new survey from Google shows that more and more people are opting to use their tablet devices, with most of them being iPads, over traditional media streams like listening to the radio or watching broadcast tv. This is happening just now?! I can’t remember the last time I listened to the radio!

The survey points out that more than half of the people questioned said they use their iPad more than listening to the radio and just about 25% of them use an iPad more than a computer. Finally, a third of these individuals stated they use iPad more than they watch tv. Because the iPad is so versatile, people can now use one device to access the Internet, watch videos, stream movies and tv shows, read newspapers and magazines, listen to music and play games. Of course cable and satellite providers have made honest attempts at keeping you on your television by offering on-demand content, DVR services, music channels, downloadable content, HD content, 3D content, free movies, etc., but without a tv capable of handling some of these things, you’re kind of up a creek.

Apple TV

Apple TV
Since the iPad is an Apple product, I doubt Steve Jobs cares that one of his own products is cannibalizing another market, but I know he figures he might as well have a piece of that pie too. Before he retires, Steve Jobs plans to “revolutionize” the living room. The Apple TV has been an interesting, yet vastly overlooked product since its inception. Originally called iTV (how original), the Apple TV began shipping in 2007 and has seen one major upgrade in 2010. However, nobody is really talking about it.

Is it possible that not everything Apple touches turns to gold? In light of this new survey, one could wonder what the future of Apple TV will be. If you actually take the time to look at the device, it really is pretty cool. You can stream purchases of videos, movies and music right from your iTunes account, access Netflix, NBA tv, YouTube and display slideshows from Flickr photo albums.

However, it would seem that this device is doomed. With the realization that iPads are here to stay, along with other competing products, Steve Jobs is likely to bring the cloud experience to your living room. By connecting all of your devices together, you’ll be able to do anything and everything on just about anything and everything in your home. I can see the commercial now:

  • Man is at work with 2 minutes left to go, watching a Netflix movie on his Macbook.
  • Man leaves work and continues same movie on iPhone while riding the subway home (I know there’s no cell service on subways, but work with me here!)
  • Man walks in the door, turns on tv and continues streaming same movie.
  • Man grabs iPad because he has to go to the bathroom and doesn’t want to pause the movie.
  • Man’s iPad battery dies, he gets upset and breaks iPad.
  • Man gets even more upset, breaks Macbook and tv.
  • Wife says she’s leaving because husband is to “connected” to technology.
  • Man is sad and lonely because Apple Care won’t cover physical damage.

On a serious note, if anyone makes that script into a YouTube video, I want credit!

My two cents

Of course the above example is a huge exaggeration, but the questions are pretty clear. Do we really need all this stuff? Do we really want everything to be so connected that we become so dependent on them? What I would like to see is a way for consumers to pay much smaller fees for tv service. If Apple plans to cloud up the living room with more on-demand tv choices like those you can get from Hulu, then I hope the cable companies respond by allowing customers to only pay for channels they wish to receive. At the rate all this is going, I’m sure it won’t be much longer before network television simply allows you to subscribe to your favorite shows rather than paying to have the whole channel.

We're making music with our cars now

I found this video on a friend’s blog and I just had to repost. Sometimes I’m just amazed at some of the stuff the Internet brings us. I always ask myself when I watch things like this if people have always been doing creative things like this before sites like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. If not, then can hold the Internet responsible for extended our creativity and if so, is all this stuff really talent or just creative ways to waste time? I can’t really say for sure because I’ve been on the Internet for many years and I can say that I haven’t become more creative!

In any case, the people who came up with and made this video surely impressed me. Check it out:


American Idol

I just watched the first episode of this year’s season and I always ask myself why this show is still so popular? I mean, doesn’t having a new idol each year diminish the value of the previous one just a bit more? What ever happened to musicians becoming big and famous naturally rather than fast forwarded to the forefront only to be quickly replaced and forgotten year after year? At least the Olympics let their winners keep their glory for four years!

Anyway, the point to this was really to say that I never really watch the show in it’s entirety. I just watch the auditions because I find it funny when people who have no talent actually think they do. Also, they always throw in those touching stories that sometimes bring your own life into perspective and make you realize that no matter what your problems are, there’s always someone who has something worse going on.

No matter how many stories from American Idol I watch, none compare to that of Sherman Pore. I’ll never forget how this 64-yr old man got a petition signed by over 350 people and then got an exception approved for his appearance on the show due to the current age limit of 28.

Here’s the video and if you want to read more on this story and what happened afterward, this blog entry has it all. By the way, Sherman made an album shortly after his American Idol audition which can be found at Amazon.


I wanted to summarize the aforementioned blog in case you don’t want to read the whole thing!

Sherman Pore had been told by many people that he had a great singing talent and that he should do something with it. Out of modesty or lack of self-confidence, he didn’t pursue it. Then, people started telling him he should try out for American Idol and of course were astonished at the age limit of 28 for the show. When these people agreed that this was unfair, Sherman asked them if they’d sign a petition saying so.

Sherman’s “lady love” of 20 years had come down with cancer and this little project of obtaining the petition was something shared by the two all the way to her final days. When Sherman got to the audition, he mentioned that having met his goal of getting on the show had eased his love’s passing and “made it a little softer”.

He explained to the panel of judges (along with guest judge Olivia Newton John) that his lady love had passed on Friday. This was two days before the audition and he wanted to sing her a song. He began with “You Belong To Me” and blew it away!

He brought Paula to tears and even received a personal comment from Simon, saying he was a class act. Simon then asked him to come over and shake his hand. Paula and Olivia hugged him and you can just feel the emotion in the air. Watch the video to see.

At the end, Sherman makes a point of saying “I won. I am a winner.”

My first YouTube video

Since YouTube has yet to index my video, I’m posting a link here for you to enjoy. So the story behind this video montage is simple. All my friends usually ask me why I’m such an Elvis fan and I really never know how to explain it. I generally ramble on about how the first compact disc I ever heard was an Elvis cd and how I was introduced to his legendary life by way of books from the library when I was younger, but I never really capture the essence of what it is.

I decided to compile a series of clips that I think really captures this essence so when anyone asks this question again, I can just show them the video. With that said, check and out and let me know what you think.


If the video disappears from YouTube, I’ll try and repost it here directly. Also, stay tuned for other vids I may post because I have a lot of ideas in my head.

Johnny Carson confronts Don Rickles

One of the funniest thing I ever saw from the old Tonight Show clips was when Bob Newhart guest hosted on December 13th, 1976. He had Don Rickles on as a guest and during one of his jokes, he was using Johnny’s cirgarette box as a stamp and when he slammed it on the desk, he broke the lid! Johnny comes back the next night and finds the broken box and decides to raid Don’s live taping of his tv show C.P.O. Sharkey! This clip just goes to show how Johnny Carson was bigger than anybody and he could do whatever he wanted.


I just found a different site that has video of both nights in one clip, however, I’m leaving the one above because it shows a little bit more at the end. So if you want to see the night when the box was broken, watch the beginning of this video:


Rich Little doing Johnny Carson

The year was 1970 and Dean Martin was hosting the New York Friars’ Club roast in a week-long special dedicated to the great Johnny Carson. In true Rich Little form, he comes out and does great impressions of Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Jack Benny, George Burns, Truman Capote and of course Johnny Carson. The best part of his impression for Johnny was that he mimicks his manurisms and nervous ticks. If you’ve watched Johnny during the years, you’ll get a kick out of this…


Orson Welles

Orson Welles in 1937

Orson Welles’ last appearance anywhere was on the Merv Griffin show on October 10th, 1985. Coincidently, he died two hours after this interview. It’s not everyday you get to see such a great actor or someone famous this close to their death. It’s sad, but watch anyway.


Jimmy Stewart on Johnny Carson reading a poem

I really loved this clip of Jimmy Stewart on Johnny Carson back in 1981. For those of you who aren’t aware, Jimmy Stewart was an avid poetry writer and for this occasion, he wrote a poem about his dog Beau that had just recently died. It starts out pretty funny, but then gets a serious overlay as you can hear him start referring to Beau in a past tense. Jimmy then gets fairly emotional at the end and even gets Johnny a little teary.


If you just want to read the poem, here it is:

Beau by Jimmy Stewart

He never came to me when I would call unless I had a tennis ball–or he felt like it.
But mostly, he didn’t come at all.
When he was young, he never learned to heel, or sit, or stay–he did things his way.
Discipline was not his bag, but when you were with him things sure didn’t drag.

He’d dig up a rose bush just to spite me and when I’d grab him, he’d turn bite me.
He bit lots of folks from day to day–the delivery boy was his favorite prey.
The gas man wouldn’t read our meter. He said we owned a real man-eater.
He set the house on fire, but the story’s long to tell.
Suffice to say that he survived and the house survived as well.

And on evening walks–and Gloria took him, he was always first out the door,
The old one and I brought up the rear because our bones were sore.
And he’d charge up the street with mom hanging on–what a beautiful pair they were.
And if it was still light and the tourists were out, they created a bit of a stir.
But every once in a while, he’d stop in his tracks and with a frown on his face, look around.
It was just to make sure that the old one was there to follow him where he was bound.

We’re early to bedders in our house, I guess I’m the first to retire,
And as I’d leave the room, he’d look at me and get up from his place by the fire.
He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs and I’d give him one for a while
And he’d push it under the bed with his nose and I’d dig it out with a smile

But before very long, he’d tire the ball and he’d be asleep in his corner in no time at all.
And there were nights when I’d feel him climb upon our bed and lie between us and I’d pat his head.
And there were nights when I’d feel his stare and I’d wake up and he’d be sitting there,
And I’d reach out to stroke his hair and sometimes I’d feel him sigh and I think I know the reason why.
He’d wake up at night and he would have this fear,
Of the dark, of life, of lots of things and he’d be glad to have me near.

And now he’s dead

And there are nights when I think I feel him climb upon our bed and lie between us and I pat his head.
And there are nights when I think I feel that stare and I reach out my hand to stroke his hair
And he’s not there.
Oh how I wish that wasn’t so, I’ll always love a dog named Beau.