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Hate Paying for Cable? Here’s Why.
All Things Digital: MediaMemo ^ | March 8, 2010 | Peter Kafka

Posted on 03/15/2010 8:16:02 AM PDT by TomGuy

Love grousing about cable TV? Then I’ve got a list for you. It comes from industry analyst SNL Kagan, and I came across it via a research note Barclays Capital’s Anthony DiClemente sent out last week.

DiClemente was arguing that the bundled approach to cable TV–whereby subscribers get dozens or even hundreds of channels for one big fee, no matter how many networks they actually watch–wasn’t going anywhere for quite some time. If ever

(Excerpt) Read more at mediamemo.allthingsd.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Chit/Chat; Reference; TV/Movies
KEYWORDS: alacarte; cable; cabletv
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Remember when John McCain was doing something useful -- advocating ala carte cable? Too bad he dropped it.

This is a chart of what cable services are paying for various channels:


1 posted on 03/15/2010 8:16:02 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: TomGuy

I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t even watch cable very much. So many crapply reality shows, liberal foul-mouth comedians, and other unwatchable drivel. I would love an ala carte billing system. Just pay for what you want to watch sounds great to me.


2 posted on 03/15/2010 8:19:36 AM PDT by Dilbert San Diego
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To: TomGuy

So basically, if I just paid for the channels I watched on a regular basis, I’d save about 75 percent. Figures.


3 posted on 03/15/2010 8:21:19 AM PDT by OCCASparky (Obama--Playing a West Wing fantasy in a '24' world.)
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To: TomGuy

This is why I cancelled cable/Sat TV. MSNBC gets .16 cents to spew their hate. Cable/sat Tv has made libs more powerful. ABC Family Channel (disney) is hardly family oriented. Almost soft core porn for the younger set.

Note that many of these networks listed are owned by ABC, CNN, NBC, CBS Viacom or other pro-Islamic, anti American channels.


4 posted on 03/15/2010 8:21:58 AM PDT by Frantzie (TV - sending Americans towards Islamic serfdom - Cancel TV service NOW)
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To: TomGuy

I wish every channel would just set up HD streaming for a fee on their website. Then, I’d cancel the television part of cable altogether and just have internet.

I’d subscribe to Fox News, Food Network, and some of the junky crap my wife watches and I’d be happy.


5 posted on 03/15/2010 8:23:22 AM PDT by perfect_rovian_storm (The worst is behind us. Unfortunately it is really well endowed.)
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To: TomGuy

ping for later


6 posted on 03/15/2010 8:24:43 AM PDT by wbill
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To: TomGuy

My cable bill should be about $4.50


7 posted on 03/15/2010 8:24:48 AM PDT by wilco200 (11/4/08 - The Day America Jumped the Shark)
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To: perfect_rovian_storm

I don’t know why Food Network doesn’t go HD. We watched a series of Man vs. Food last night and enjoyed it immensely. But seeing it letterbox on our HD TV was a little annoying.


8 posted on 03/15/2010 8:25:37 AM PDT by bcsco (Obama: Hokus Pokus POTUS)
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To: TomGuy
I wonder how many of these stations boil down to the same set of investors (e.g. ESPN & ABC are owned by Disney). I am sure that these products (cable channels) are sold to distribution channels (cable companies) as package deals in many cases. As long as the consumer is willing to pay for package deals, this is not going to change.

I have had some luck over the last 5 years renegotiating my bill with my cable company. I can usually get 15 to 20% off my bill, but it has to be on their terms, meaning they have things they can discount but it may not be the item I want discounted. The cable companies spend a lot of money attracting new customers. They do not want to lose existing ones, so they will give a bit.

I think if more people put pressure on the cable companies, then they will have to go back and get cheaper products. Only then will a la carte programming be seriously considered.

9 posted on 03/15/2010 8:26:30 AM PDT by mlocher (USA is a sovereign nation)
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To: bcsco

I’d love just for Nigella alone


10 posted on 03/15/2010 8:26:53 AM PDT by Hegewisch Dupa
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To: Frantzie
We've been cable free for years. We don't even have a TV. Don't miss it at all.

When there are programs recommended to us by friends we get them through netflicks and watch the episodes one after the other. More than once my husband and I have been up to 2 a.m. in the morning with “24” saying, “Just one more episode!” :-)

11 posted on 03/15/2010 8:29:25 AM PDT by wintertime
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To: Dilbert San Diego

The bill increases and so do the Spanish channels.


12 posted on 03/15/2010 8:29:30 AM PDT by Beowulf9
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To: TomGuy

I have basic-basic cable. You’ll never see it on the cable companies websites or paperwork but it was there.

I pay $4.71 per month.(Comcast)


13 posted on 03/15/2010 8:32:04 AM PDT by libertarian27 (Land of the FEE, home of the SHAMED)
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To: TomGuy
Not only are the cable fees outrageous, but the amount of commercial time is ever increasing.
I swear, every 60 minutes of air time is consumed by 25 minutes of commercials. That makes the cable fees doubly outrageous.
My solution ... set a date, say July 4th, and have everyone in America cancel their cable.
14 posted on 03/15/2010 8:32:27 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: TomGuy

What he’s missing is that the cable companies buy their channels in bundles too. They don’t get just ESPN, they get the whole ESPN package (2, News, Deportes, Classic, U) plus Disney and ABC Family all at a “cut rate”. This is why they sell in bundles, it’s all wrapped up in the contracts they’re getting from the channel companies. Until the cable companies can buy ala carte (which the channels won’t do because it’s he best way to push their cheap channels that are all profit even with few viewers) they will be contractually unable to sell ala carte.


15 posted on 03/15/2010 8:32:39 AM PDT by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: TomGuy

I pay my ISP fees (to my phone company for DSL service) and don’t have cable: I get my news on FreeRepublic, the BBC website, and a handful of overseas newspaper sites (three British, one each Russian, Aussie, Japanese, Korean and Singaporean) and watch NCIS and Burn Notice on the CBS site and Hulu respectively. If I want more televisual entertainment, my town has a phenomenal DVD rental store (huge selections of foreign films, both European and Asian, and of anime, plus all the usual stuff including television show boxed sets). Works great if you’re not into sports.


16 posted on 03/15/2010 8:34:24 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: bcsco

I get it in HD on Time Warner. I’ve had it for about a year and a half.


17 posted on 03/15/2010 8:36:00 AM PDT by perfect_rovian_storm (The worst is behind us. Unfortunately it is really well endowed.)
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To: mlocher

Most of them. When you get right down to there’s only a handful of real cable channel companies: Disney (ESPN, ABC, Disney), Universal (USA, SyFy, some others), Discovery (Discovery, TLC), Viacom (MTV, VH1), Turner (CNN, TBS) and Fox (FoxNews, FX), maybe a couple others. And yes they sell in packages, packages that force the cable companies to package to us.


18 posted on 03/15/2010 8:36:37 AM PDT by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: TomGuy

if these channels actually had to come up with content that would cause a viewer to voluntarily purchase that channel, they would all be out of business.

When is the last time you’ve seen a good movie on HBO?

Why is Bill Maher on at least one of the eleven HBO channels seemingly at any time of any day? Is this the Bill maher channel?

When is the last time you have seen a good movie on Cinemax?

When is the last time you saw a good movie on STARZ? Seven Pounds is my answer on that one.

When is the last time you saw a good movie on Encore?

When is the last time you saw a good movie on Show Time? Dexter doesn’t count, that’s a weekly drama that’s only on in the fall.

Good movies on The Movie Channel? Nada! Moving on to The Sundance Channel...

Why does the Sundance Channel even exist? Who watches this? Has anything interesting ever come on this channel?

IFC- Every now and then shows a good movie.

I canceled my movie channels because of soft core porn. Everytime I want to see if a movie is on, this crap is on. Sex movies that show no sex. Awesome. I would never again consider having MAX, Showtime, TMC or any other channel that runs this garbage.


19 posted on 03/15/2010 8:36:46 AM PDT by chris37
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To: bcsco
I don’t know why Food Network doesn’t go HD.

They are HD on DirecTV, at least. At least their newer stuff is. The older reruns weren't shot in HD.

20 posted on 03/15/2010 8:37:16 AM PDT by kevkrom (Obama's Waterloo: a "hockey mom" with a laptop and a Facebook account)
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To: perfect_rovian_storm

I have Comcast. We searched through the channel lineup last night (for the show name) and found nothing other than the standard Food Network.


21 posted on 03/15/2010 8:38:50 AM PDT by bcsco (Obama: Hokus Pokus POTUS)
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To: oh8eleven
I swear, every 60 minutes of air time is consumed by 25 minutes of commercials.

If you watch TV programs, say from the 70s, on Hulu, you will note that they are about 48 minutes in duration.

Today, a typical hour-long program has only about 39 minutes of actual content. Late last year, the programmers decided to expand their advertising content by about 3%, thus decreasing content from about 42 minutes to 39 minutes.

I use a 30-second skip when I DVR a program. Some programs have up to 8 minutes of advertising and public services messages during a single break.

Content is only something to fill the gap between advertising breaks.
22 posted on 03/15/2010 8:39:24 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: TomGuy

>>>This is a chart of what cable services are paying for various channels

The chart is what the cable company pays, not what the consumer pays TO the cable company. Interesting information.


23 posted on 03/15/2010 8:39:46 AM PDT by tlb
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To: bcsco
FWIW FoodTV - the Food Channel is HD on Dish Network (and I imagine on DirectTV as well).

It looks good most of the time, though older shows are displayed in a ‘panorama’ format where the center is actual size and the sides are stretched to fit your screen.

24 posted on 03/15/2010 8:39:55 AM PDT by Leo Farnsworth (I'm really not Leo Farnsworth.)
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To: TomGuy

This is a great system for the cable channels. Force people who would never consider using your product to pay you for it anyway. A La Carte would be the end of most of the junk on cable and would force the handful of Bravo, MSNBC, CNN and Mexican Anal (?) viewers to pay their fair shair. No wonder the media supports socialism, it is what keeps their industry going.


25 posted on 03/15/2010 8:41:54 AM PDT by ConservaTexan (February 6, 1911)
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To: discostu

Thanks for the information. I guess it is an oligarchy, so to speak.


26 posted on 03/15/2010 8:42:22 AM PDT by mlocher (USA is a sovereign nation)
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To: Leo Farnsworth; kevkrom

I’m with Comcast. Satellite isn’t an option with reception issues for me. And Verizon doesn’t come here.

There’s some talk about our local power company (yes, we have one...) possibly getting into the cable business. They already provide high-speed wireless Internet, have for years. But that talk remains just that.

They say they have a cable provider up in Wisconsin willing to link into the fiber network we’re tied into, we’d have to handle the routing this side of the State line. But last I heard, that’s just, well, talk...


27 posted on 03/15/2010 8:45:59 AM PDT by bcsco (Obama: Hokus Pokus POTUS)
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To: bcsco

Yeah, the point wasn’t to say “go DirecTV/Dish!”, but that the network is broadcast in HD. It’s your cable company that isn’t “going HD” with the channel, not the network. Yet another reason to hate the monopolistic b****rds.


28 posted on 03/15/2010 8:48:20 AM PDT by kevkrom (Obama's Waterloo: a "hockey mom" with a laptop and a Facebook account)
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To: TomGuy

I see a lot of money I could save off of that list.


29 posted on 03/15/2010 8:48:37 AM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: TomGuy
thus decreasing content from about 42 minutes to 39 minutes.
That essentially puts the content to commercial ratio at 2:1. For every two minutes of show you get one minute of commercial. Despicable.

If you watch TV programs, say from the 70s, on Hulu, you will note that they are about 48 minutes in duration.
Yes, I know exactly what you mean. BTW, I watch All in the Family once in a while and noticed it was Archie's neighbor, Jefferson, who was the real racist.
30 posted on 03/15/2010 8:50:27 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: TomGuy
Although I haven't counted,the package I now have has,perhaps,300 channels or more.My cable provider (Verizon) offers,I'll bet,400+ channels...I guess that fiber optics system has enormous capacity for TV channels *and* internet speed.

Of the 300,or so,channels I have I watch,at most,15-20.A la carte should save me big $$$ but there are one or two that I *do* watch that are obscure enough that they might go away in an a la carte world.

31 posted on 03/15/2010 8:53:31 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Host The Beer Summit-->Win The Nobel Peace Prize!)
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To: kevkrom
Yet another reason to hate the monopolistic b****rds.

I hear ya...

32 posted on 03/15/2010 8:53:49 AM PDT by bcsco (Obama: Hokus Pokus POTUS)
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To: chris37

You are spot on; and my two cents....I have 6 channels in Hindi. What the hell am I supposed to do with that ?


33 posted on 03/15/2010 8:54:51 AM PDT by onona (dbada)
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To: mlocher

It’s a natural tendency of companies in similar markets to conglomerate. It used to be most of these channels were competitors, VH1 was started by Michael Nesmith to try to beat MTV for stealing his idea, but eventually somebody gets the upper hand (possibly through market action, maybe by getting bought by a company looking for horizontal expansion) and buys the competition. As long as the combined company won’t be a monopoly the FTC won’t stop it. The entertainment industry has always been like this, some of the best known companies in entertainment (Time-Warner, Chess-Checker-Argo, Elektra-Asylum-Nonsuch) are the product of this merger trend. Entertainment tends to be very high on overhead, but a lot of that overhead can be eliminated by combining companies. Instead of a dozen companies all having their own studio buildings to run various “news” style shows you can run all the ESPN/ ABC/ Disney “news” shows out of 1 or 2 building. Instead of a dozen companies having top shelf editing facilities all the Discovery channels can run out of 1 or 2 buildings.

Then of course there’s the leveraged selling to cable companies, it’s a lot easier to sell ESPN Classic with its hundreds of possible viewers packaged with ESPN than by itself.


34 posted on 03/15/2010 8:55:04 AM PDT by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: TomGuy

The lack of an a la carte option is the reason we have rabbit ears.

The main channels I want are Fox News, History and Speed TV. To get all three means going to the second or third tier of standard channels (whether cable or satellite), and I’m not paying $50/month or more for a bunch of stuff I don’t want and won’t watch. Heck, I’m not even home most of the day except for the weekends.

So the handful of broadcast channels, or, increasingly, the Internet is where I go.

I say screw ‘em. If they won’t give me what I want, then they won’t get my money. Simple as that. Doubly so with the political slant in every media outlet these days.

I just wish some company some where would target the market of people like me, whether via Internet or some other medium.


35 posted on 03/15/2010 9:02:15 AM PDT by chrisser (Starve the Monkeys!)
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To: wintertime

“We’ve been cable free for years. We don’t even have a TV. Don’t miss it at all.”

I’m going cable free in May once our Fios agreement expires. I’m sick of wasting so much money on the 3 or 4 channels we find ourselves watching anymore. Netflix + local TV is more than enough for me anymore ... and I’m 36 years old :-)!

“I have been up to 2 a.m. in the morning with “24” saying, “Just one more episode!” :-)”

My wife and I had that same problem a couple of years ago. Pretty much watched the first 4 seasons of “24” for the first time ever on DVD back-to-back.

Same thing happened to us watching the first 3 seasons of Lost for the first time.

I didn’t start watching Battlestar Galactica (the new one) until a few months before the final episode. That was incredibly fun to watch back-to-back.

The time it took to switch DVDs after a cliffhanger was painful ... I couldn’t imagine having to wait months for a resolution :-)!


36 posted on 03/15/2010 9:04:40 AM PDT by edh (I need a better tagline)
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To: discostu
I'm not sure where you got your information but it is not entirely accurate, and no I don't work for a cable company. I work for an integrator and our job is to update cable company headends and telco central offices.
Lets take ESPN/Disney for example. Not only do operators have to pay for each channel individually, they also have to carry second tier channels they don't want AND have pay for those also. That's why there are so many channels no one cares about.
OK, Comcast, Charter, Time Warner, etc decide $4.08 is too much for ESPN and refuse to pay. Disney doesn't budge so the operator drops ESPN from the line-up. It would take a grand total of 5 minutes for their CSR’s to be overwhelmed with angry customers. The programmers know this so they just wait the operators out.
But don't fret. If your patient enough you'll start seeing voice, video, and data sold in blocks of usage instead of the current “broadcast” package. For instance, 40 hours of on-demand video product (TV series, movies, sports), 40 hours of Internet access plus unlimited voice for $X. As soon as the competition between switched digital video and IPTV plays out (IPTV will eventually win) I think something similar to what I described will take place.
37 posted on 03/15/2010 9:05:09 AM PDT by K.B.7
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To: chris37

On my extended cable (Cox), hardly a week goes by that at least one of the channels isn’t showing Independence Day or Men in Black or about a dozen other movies that have been repeated ad nauseum.


38 posted on 03/15/2010 9:06:26 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: ConservaTexan
Force people who would never consider using your product to pay you for it anyway.

Considering that all it takes is a phone call to your cable provider to stop their service; how are you being forced to do anything?

39 posted on 03/15/2010 9:08:20 AM PDT by 1raider1
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To: oh8eleven
That essentially puts the content to commercial ratio at 2:1. For every two minutes of show you get one minute of commercial. Despicable.

That's what you get with the commercial broadcasting model we have in the US. The whole business model is built on delivering eyeballs to advertisers. Programming is just a cost. And it's a cost that has risen at a time when advertisers are cutting their marketing budgets.

40 posted on 03/15/2010 9:08:33 AM PDT by Bubba Ho-Tep ("More weight!"--Giles Corey)
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To: edh
I have just put “Lost” and the new “Battlestar Gallactica” on our netflicks list! :-)
41 posted on 03/15/2010 9:14:25 AM PDT by wintertime
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To: Hegewisch Dupa

Yummy.

42 posted on 03/15/2010 9:15:25 AM PDT by TankerKC ("...wankerKC..." --agromination March 11, 2010.)
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To: K.B.7

That’s basically what I said. They don’t just sell ESPN by itself, they sell the package with all the ESPNs, and part of those contracts includes how they’ll sell the tiers to the customers which includes these other ESPN parts that nobody watches.

The problem with IPTV is that basically the same people that are pushing packages on the cable companies will control the feed. They’ll sell the packages to the last mile guys of IPTV the same way they’re selling the packages to the last mile guys of cable. Not to mention the fact that half the high speed internet in this country is coming from the cable companies, who have already lost this fight with the channels. It’ll be same $#!+ different box for IPTV.


43 posted on 03/15/2010 9:16:33 AM PDT by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: 1raider1
I choose to get cable because there are a handfull channels that I do enjoy. To get them I must subsidize a plethora of crap.
44 posted on 03/15/2010 9:27:11 AM PDT by ConservaTexan (February 6, 1911)
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To: discostu
It’s a natural tendency of companies in similar markets to conglomerate.

C. J. Prahalad of the University of Michigan is an expert of this phenomenom, and he dubbed it, "The Rule of 3". I have studied this in several industries, including auto and telecommunications industries. I had not followed the entertainment/cable industry at all, so your data filled in a lot of holes.

Personally, I do not see the business model change until such time that the consumers stop paying the current prices. Unfortunately for me, it seems the entertainment generation is a multi-generation thing. That is, I doubt too many people will stop buying or call their cable operators for discounts.

45 posted on 03/15/2010 9:28:50 AM PDT by mlocher (USA is a sovereign nation)
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To: TankerKC

bless you!


46 posted on 03/15/2010 9:30:38 AM PDT by Hegewisch Dupa
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To: chrisser
The lack of an a la carte option is the reason we have rabbit ears.

You're part of an increasing number.

For those of us who watch little television, rabbit ears or the new generation of small-footprint outdoor antennas is a very good alternative. Over the air (``OTA'') reception now is actually better quality than what you get via the compressed pipeline of cable. The onetime investment in a good antenna (typically well under $50-$100) pays off in just a couple of month's worth of cable bills.

47 posted on 03/15/2010 9:32:48 AM PDT by re_nortex
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To: libertarian27

I have the same thing. I call it The Cheap B@stard Package. It’s $11 a month.

It has all I want, though:

All local stations in digital HD
Fox News
History, Dicovery, Food, Hallmark, etc..
TBS, TNT, etc..


48 posted on 03/15/2010 9:36:53 AM PDT by ConservativeWarrior (In last year's nests, there are no birds this year.)
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To: mlocher

I doubt entertainment will get down to three, but the basic reasons for all the mergers are the same. Definitely nothing about the cable bill will change until viewers convince Disney they’re so annoyed at paying 18 cents for ESPN Classic they’re actually willing to stop paying 4 bucks for ESPN.


49 posted on 03/15/2010 9:43:55 AM PDT by discostu (wanted: brick, must be thick and well kept)
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To: TomGuy

Considering the lack of content and the ever increasing advertising, we won’t be renewing our DirectTV subscription. We pay about $45/month and the disconnect fee is $20 per month unused, so, we’ll just go until October then cancel. We can get the network channels over the air in HD and Hulu the rest of the shows we watch. FoxNews has become useless for information so that’s not a concern anymore. I can listen to Rush online and Mark Levin over Sirius. For news, FR is about as good as any as it covers many topics and sources with few liberal injections. :) I’ll miss having the various “educational” type of channels like Military, Discovery, etc., but I wouldn’t mind having less TV in my life anyway. It has become not much past filler.


50 posted on 03/15/2010 9:46:57 AM PDT by CodeToad
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