Re: Cable TV "a la carte"
- From: spinner <invalid@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 07 Dec 2007 04:22:06 -0000
On Mon, 03 Dec 2007 06:17:27 -0800, Larry Bud wrote:
Right now, I can't find even 10 channels worth watching so that
wouldn't be a problem. (I'm seriously considering dumping cable and
replacing it with a few extra Netflix accounts)
Doesn't sound like you're even a cable TV candidate. 10 Channels is
Hey, "10" was *your* number.
Yeah, I'm throwing out an example.
And one using what you now admit is a non-representative number. :)
Also, don't forget, there's going to be a "base" rate that you'll
have to pay for. You won't be getting a $5 cable bill if you buy 1
channel. You'll get a $20 or $30 cable bill.
You're making up numbers to support your argument
No I'm not,
Yes you are. The numbers you gave were made up to support your argument.
I'm living in reality. Cable company revenue isn't going to drop 50% just
because they're forced to package their channels in a different way.
I never said it would. What I said was that we didn't know the exact way the
numbers would work out from a la carte and that you were just making some up
to support your argument.
It could just as easily be a $10/month base rate with no free channels
and $5 per channel to add them. Or it could be a $40 base rate that
includes any 10 channels you care to choose and $2 (or $5, or ...?) for
each additional channel you add and every 10th channel free. Maybe it's
$5 each for the first 10, $3 each for the next 10, and $2 each after
that. Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.
Yeah? And? Fact of the matter is that people's bills on an average
will NOT go down, but choice will.
To say that is to claim that increased competition does not lead to lower
prices, improved quality, and greater consumer choice.
Now let's say half of those 100 channels aren't subscribed to
enough for the cable company to warrant their purchase. We'll
ignore the fact that the cable companies by packaged channels
(e.g. all the family of Discovery channels) for now.
Why ignore it? That's part of the problem.
No, THEY buy packaged channels from the networks. That won't change
if the cable companies are forced to sell a la carte.
If it won't change, then I don't have to worry about a la carte making
some esoteric channel go away.
Sure it will, because a cable company isn't going to use up bandwidth on
a channel few people are buying. They're already running into bandwidth
issues with HD.
They're *already* required by their contracts to carry unwanted channels in
order to get desired ones. A la carte would free them of that requirement
and preserve bandwidth for channels viewers actually want.
So now you only have 50 channels to choose from,
No, I'll still have 100. The free market despises a vacuum;
free-market enterprisers competing with each other for my dollars
will enter that space.
Don't be silly. If cable companies could buy higher viewed channels
right now, they would.
As already noted, I can get more and better material out of Netflix
than I can my cable TV, and for about the same price.
Who's talking about movies?
I said "material", not "movies". Netflix also has documentaries, tutorials,
BBC and IMAX productions (including some that I've never seen mentioned on
the cable guide), a lot of specials I've seen on the Discovery and History
channels but without all the annoying commercials and popups, musicals,
concerts, rock videos, sports, etc.
As Rick Blaine noted, the only thing missing is current events. However, I
can fill in a lot of those holes via the Internet or broadcast television.
And, there are compensations for the things I can't get. For example,
there's no Linux channel on cable TV, but I can put my own together from
videocasts on the Internet.
Why are you paying for cable if it sucks so bad for you?
I won't be much longer. A few days ago I signed on for another Netflix
account and started now I'm building up a media computer to handle Internet
and some of those channels lost might be the ones YOU want.
They'll still carry those channels if viewers are willing to pay to
If they don't have enough viewers for YOUR channel, they'll drop your
This claim has so many holes I don't know where to begin:
- Why would a cable company pay for bundled channels and then not carry
them to recoup whatever it could?
Who's to say YOUR channel is bundled with anything?
It's MY channel, it can be bundled if I want it to.
- If it's that esoteric, then I don't watch it, either, so your point is
irrelevant to myself as well as most other people.
Don't be so sure.
OK, let's try this more slowly: "Esoteric", by definition, means it's of
interest to only a few. Which means it's not of interest to most. Therefore,
the possible loss of esoteric channels isn't an issue to most people.
- If "MY" channel is of too little interest to others to justify being
carried, then why should they have to pay for it?
Because they've voluntarily bought cable service. If they don't want to
pay for it, don't buy cable.
If you don't like a la carte, don't buy cable.
But the solution isn't to force by government a company (any company) to
sell or package a product the way the government sees fit.
A government that has nurtured an industry, showering it with corporate
welfare and special favors to help it grow so as to provide a service
demanded by the citizens, has every right to have a say in business
decisions. If cable doesn't like the government having a hand in their
business decisions then they're free to return the handouts and move their
wires from our public right of ways.
- Given the free market's ability to seek out and fill niches, what makes
you think an a la carte system wouldn't also lead to the creation of
new niche channels, some of which might interest me where now none do?
By definition, niche channels won't have enough viewers to warrant the
Then they also don't warrant the bandwidth under the current system, either.
- If a niche interest has too few numbers to survive on its own, then
what's to prevent it sharing a channel with other small niche
So now you're going to force people to buy a full channel when they only
want half the content??
How is that any worse than the current system requiring them to pay for six
channels they don't want in order to get the one that they do?
The only difference is that now those channels will have to compete
on their own merit instead of getting a free ride on the coattails
of a premium channel provider owned by the same company.
It's still going to happen. Discovery Networks is still going to say
"buy all 6 of our channels or buy none".
If I have to pay channel fees - hidden or otherwise - for channels I
don't want in order to get the one I do, then that's not a la carte
That you better read up on what a la carte really is.
Somehow I knew that would be too complicated for you...
The real question is this: Why do you believe that the government
should tell a company how to package and sell their product?
Because the voters it represents want it to, and the US Constitution allows
Nobody is forcing you to buy cable the way it is now.
Since you seem to feel that not being forced to buy cable is sufficient cure
for any complaints, I'm puzzled as to why you're even concerned about the
issue of a la carte. After all, you can always just choose to do without
cable, just as you advise for those of us who aren't happy with the current
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