Posts Tagged ‘All Things D’

Cable TV Bundling

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Peter Kafka at All Things D has dug up a fantastic list – the wholesale prices that cable providers pay the broadcasters for each channel. Check out: “Hate Paying for Cable? Here’s Why.

SNL Kagan

Every so often my father and I get into a frustration match about the bundling of cable TV. This happens mostly before or during baseball season, as NESN isn’t “basic” cable – it’s on the more expensive pricing tier.

You know, because “basic” cable should cost $55 a month.

We want a la carte pricing – why pay for Fox News, truTV or the Style Network if we don’t watch it? I don’t buy magazines I don’t like to read, or food I don’t want to eat.

Of course, every commercial enterprise has their tricks and quirks, and long ago the cable industry made the brilliant move to bundle everything we want and don’t want together. Getting them to change that seems less-and-less likely as downloads and streaming video take over the web and the mega-corporate broadcasters have more frequent disputes with the mega-corporate subscription-television providers over transmission fees.

Also, as pricing sends a signal (i.e. you get what you pay for) broadcasters would probably want their channels to command a higher price. As the lower the price of the channel, more people would infer the channel is crummy and probably not sign up for it.

Oh well. I guess we can dream that someday Time-Warner will allow me to pay $4.06 for ESPN, $0.88 for Disney, $0.24 for MLB Network and a scant $0.14 for Comedy Central. That someday they’ll be hurting enough to get my $5.32 instead of the $55 that I’m not paying them today.

UPDATE: Just saw a New York Times article from Wednesday about cable-cord cutter who ditch their subscription-television provider and watch cable over the internet tubes, a rising number as cable bills rise. Check out: “Changing Channels, From Cable to the Web.”