Research firm SNL Kagen recently reported that cable television suffered its biggest customer drop in three decades, as 119,000 people canceled their cable, satellite or telecommunications subscriptions. That drop followed the biggest defection on record – a loss of 216,000 subscribers in the second quarter. To this I say: Welcome to my world! You’ll love being cable-free!
I dropped my cable in August 2009 and never looked back. (I wrote about the decision in my Yahoo!Finance column.) My primary motivation was not financial – although we’ve saved more than $900 since we dumped Comcast. It was more about removing a potent distraction that made it difficult for us to be intentional about how we spend our time, and to be more thoughtful about where we put our attention. Even though we don't allow the kids to watch TV during the school week, the stations were constantly churning out new inane junk I had to ban on weekends and holidays.
Researchers have found that self-control is more important to kids’ success than high IQ -– and self-control is not just a genetic blessing, but something that can be taught and enhanced with practice. Studies have found that one key is simply eliminating distractions that hijack focus and attention. My three daughters read more, play more games, and one of them boosted her grades and moved up to all honors classes. While I can’t prove cause and effect, I’m really happy the cable is gone.
My kids still watch the shows everyone talks about at school (Glee) and catch some cable programs on Hulu.com on the weekends. My kids love the show Psych, so we just ordered the whole season on Netflix.
Have you dumped your cable service? What was the result? If you’re thinking about it — perhaps as a New Year's Resolution, what’s stopping you?