Friday, December 2, 2011

Freeda Stations!

Alyssa Rosenberg reminds me of one of the most infuriating topics around: paying big bucks to cable companies for hundreds of stations that you never watch. Her money quote:
...younger consumers who have decided that cable isn’t worth the money at all and are declining to subscribe in the first place, so they won’t replace older ones who are exiting the subscriber universe. That should be a much scarier proposition for the cable industry, but it’s an intriguing one for networks.
I remain pretty convinced that even if it takes a very long time to unbundle cable, and even if a bunch of networks die in the process, a move towards a more flexible (if not entirely a la carte) multi-platform system is inevitable. The idea that choice is paying for precisely what you want, rather than getting an enormous number of things — some of which you want and some of which you’d gladly see die in a fire — for your money seems pretty well-entrenched in the music industry now, and has always been the case for books.
Who's surprised that young folks aren't buying the crap that cable is providing? If Nexflix carried sports, i'd say ciao to my cable box in a heartbeat. As it is, both Comcast and Verizon make me pay extra (~$45 a month) for their "Basic Plus" package in order to get NESN for the Sox games. Do I watch anything else on Basic Plus? No. So why the fuck am I paying for them? A la carte pricing is the way to go! Or some form of subscription based model; i'd pay for a X amount of hours of streaming content from a range of stations Nexflix/Pandora-style. I'd even pay-per view - at least that way I knew my money was supporting the creation of something that I enjoyed. In fact, I'd take just about anything but the awful pricing tiers that are available now. I know i'm not the only one, so when it someone comes up with a viable alternative, cable's going to crash quickly - mark my words.

A Dish reader makes some great points:

The first that "The LA Times has a story today noting how ESPN's programming costs have increased 50% in five years. Consumers are paying for [programming cost increases without a] way to discipline the market and reject the price increases without dropping their entire cable package."

He also points out that without these artificial limitations, "I think you'd see some cable and satellite companies do some creative things – Pick 10 channels from this bucket for $5 bucks. Pick 25 for $15. Buy 10 from this bundle at $10. – Buy this bundle of sports channels that includes the NFL Network instead of making me pay a dollar a month to watch the Scouting Combine in the summer."

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