Barclays: Cord cutting doesn’t save much

Subscribers don’t save enough by replacing pay-TV subscription swith over-the-top services to justify the loss of available content, according to Barclays media analyst Anthony DiClemente, commenting on US start-up Aereo.

DiClemente isn’t a fan of Aereo, the cloud-based programming service backed by Barry Diller, which seeks to stream broadcast TV channels with a DVR interface to tablets, notebooks and over-the-top boxes for $12 a month.

If Aereo survives its court battle with the networks, DiClemente concludes it’ll find itself positioned as merely “one more over-the-top distributor” in a segment he feels has limited long-term consumer appeal. “In our view, dropping cable TV in favour of a bunch of over-the-top alternatives may not result in as much incremental savings as one might initially think.”

He explains broadband Internet is more expensive as a standalone service. DiClement’s example: if you drop a $60 video service from a $90 pay TV subscription, the Internet portion is likely to increase from $30 to $50 a month, negating a third of the savings. The net price of your video ends up being only $40.

Putting together an over-the-top programming package that would include Aereo for broadcast channels ($12 a month), a subscription VoD service like Netflix ($8) and a few movie purchases from a retailer like iTunes (he estimates $10 a month), DiClemente says the combined monthly price of $30 a month doesn’t compare favourably to the net price of $40 a month for pay TV.

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