The End of Television As We Knew It

 

According to Moffett-Nathanson analyst Craig Moffett as reported in Variety a couple of weeks ago, Q1 2015 was the first quarter that the Pay TV industry posted a loss in revenue. That’s a pretty impressive run since the 1970s when coaxial cable was laid throughout the land to push out television programming that could render a static-free TV picture shielded from the elements so customers no longer had to fiddle with antennas or wire coat hangers to get a decent picture on a dark and stormy night. But the Pay TV Titanic has just hit the iceberg and there are so many lifeboats to be had. A consolidation is underway as cable providers are beginning to snatch up other cable providers.

This consolidation promises no new innovations to consumers. In the late ’90s, when Pay TV providers first knew that they needed to expand beyond offering TV programming, they added Internet and then digital telephone services. Today, they also offer home surveillance services. But opening the portal (or port hole to float my Titanic analogy further) to Internet services, once a necessity to keep residential customers, is the port hole that is being used by customers to squeeze out of escalating and pricey monthly subscriptions and jump over to set top box (STB) and Smart TV makers offering subscriber-based programming bundled with their hardware. The port hole is open, water is rushing in, and alarm bells are ringing.

OptionsTraditional broadcasters like the major networks have quickly scrambled to make their programming available to the STB makers to maintain whatever audience they can as they’ve seen most of their viewers drift away to binge watching programming from HBO, Showtime, and other non-network content providers. Thus, one can view just about any series currently available on standard network television on bundled offerings on their set top box (AppleTV, Sony, Samsung, Amazon’s Fire TV, Roku, and what have you). And now that many of these services produce and offer their own programs which only hastens Pay TV’s death. HBO’s deal with Apple and soon with other streaming STB makers to offer HBONOW is a new part of the iceberg slicing into the hull of the cable providers’ business. How long before Showtime, Encore and Starz follow suit?

Tomorrow, I’ll be going into my cable/ISP provider’s offices to cut the cord on my TV service and transition to high-speed broadband service only. By doing so, I’ll be saving over $1,600 per year on my cable bill. I should have done this some time ago, to be honest.

Part of my decision calculus was that I very rarely watch network television and rely instead on streaming content from the AppleTVs I have, some of the content providers available through my Blu-ray players, and sometimes through my smart TV. For sports programming, I typically only watch college football or basketball; many of those games (especially March Madness for basketball) I can watch on my Mac or wirelessly toss it over from the Mac to my HDTV for larger viewing.

News I may miss, but with a much cheaper SiriusXM subscription I can get several news and news/talk stations including the Fox News and Fox News Business around-the-clock television feeds in audio. I will miss ogling at Megyn Kelly and Shannon Bream but I think I’ll get over it. If there’s breaking international news I can get SkyNews for free now on both the AppleTV and my Samsung Smart TV and I have a feeling that other news providers will follow suit soon to do the same so they maintain whatever audiences they can as pay TV services die. Just a friendly word of advice to Fox that it may want to get their live, current and archived news programming on STBs as soon as possible.

I have friends who have cut their respective cords several months ago. So, they would be part of the findings in the MoffettNathanson report referenced above. But let’s look at the numbers if some of the homeowners in my immediate area of Orange County, Calif., also begin to drift away from one of the leading providers.

If 2,500 of the approximately 17,000 homes in my area cut their cords and opt only for Internet connectivity from the local provider, that’s a potential hit to the cable/ISP of $4 million. Over 5 years, $20 million.

If half the homes in my area cut the cord, that’s a $13.6 million hit to their recurring revenue. Over five years, that’s a $68 million hit. Even if that loss is comprised of homes adjacent to my community for the same cable provider services, that’s a tremendous hit with no foreseeable innovation or technology to bail them out.

If even more households in my county do the same over time, presumably this would mean extensive layoffs and reducing the number of installers, many of whom contract with the cable provider to do their truck rolls. Cable guys might want to polish their résumés.

Of course, extrapolate some of those numbers nationwide and this is a major paradigm shift that should have been evident when set top boxes first starting bundling subscriber services.

This prompts the following questions:

  • In the next few years will providers be a shell of their former selves – even possibly bought out by companies who don’t care to offer TV programming, digital phone, or home security at all and instead focus just on high-speed Internet service?
  • Will that happen?
  • And what’s your guess on when that will happen?
  • Or will there be another whiz-bang technology that emerges that the cable providers can latch onto and provide their customers that can stop the bleeding for a few years?
  • Have you cut the cord? Do you have any regrets? Or have you adapted?

There are 129 comments.

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  1. SkipSul Moderator

    Cut the cord in 2008 and never looked back. Netflix and Amazon are there if I want to watch something, but as a non-sports fan I actually find I watch even less than I did before (and even then I watched little as the overall quality of TV that actually interested me decayed with the proliferation of “reality TV”).

    EJ talked about this last week from a different angle – content creation and the funding thereof – and asked, in the absence of the current models, who would actually pay for NEW content? Right now so much of what is on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. is content whose creation costs were paid for up front by conventional networks, largely funded by cable bundling and commercial advertising. In that sense us cord cutters are (with exceptions for premium channels like HBO) riding on things already expensed out.

    It’s a valid point, but then so much of what has been created in the last 15 years has been of zero interest to me in the first place. I’m never going to watch Mad Men anyway, so why should I care how future such shows are made? If no one is making content that I want, then I’m not going to spend my money anyway.

    Al la carte channels through things like you’ve mentioned might tempt me back.

    • #1
    • June 1, 2015, at 9:57 AM PDT
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  2. Jager Member

    skipsul:

    Al la carte channels through things like you’ve mentioned might tempt me back.

    I actually hope that Al la carte is the next “innovation” in PayTV. My provider has tiers( which are groups of channels beyond the basic cable for an additional payment). There might be one channel in an Upper Tier that I would watch, I am not going to buy the tier for one channel. I don’t ever, even in a family of 4, watch half the channels in the “basic cable” group.

    My wife and I have been debating cutting the cord. PayTV would be more likely to keep my money if they let me buy the channels I wanted, not the channels they felt like I should have.

    • #2
    • June 1, 2015, at 10:53 AM PDT
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  3. Profile Photo Member

    Be careful about calling a net drop in overall subscribers a “loss of revenue.” Average Revenue per User (ARPU) continues to increase throughout all Pay TV, and the increases likely more than match the net drop of 31000 customers cited in the Variety article.

    This, of course, could change as well, if Dish Network and Verizon FiOS continue on with Sling TV and FiOS Custom TV, respectively.

    • #3
    • June 1, 2015, at 10:54 AM PDT
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  4. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    Why I switched from cable to DSL: The cable company wouldn’t let me run my own server off my cable modem, but I found a discount DSL company that would let me run a web/ssh/OwnCloud server through my consumer DSL connection, and sells me a static IP number for only $4 a month. As such, I can securely access all my files at home without having to trust my data to a third-party cloud provider.

    Also, I can get “dry-copper” DSL (an Internet connection through the phone line but without the need for a home phone number, since I already have a cell phone through my job), but I cannot get “dry” cable Internet. If I want cable Internet, I also need to pay for at least basic cable tv programming. I believe this is a requirement of government regulation (i.e. a freebie for government-friendly broadcasters), but don’t quote me on that.

    To win me back, the cable company could try focusing on improving its services for Internet users, rather than worrying about content delivery. Make Internet services the primary product, with television programming as an “optional extra”, rather than the other way around. Since cable Internet is (generally) faster than DSL, I’d happily switch back if the service was comparable.

    • #4
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:03 AM PDT
    • Like
  5. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Post author

    Brad2971:Be careful about calling a net drop in overall subscribers a “loss of revenue.” Average Revenue per User (ARPU) continues to increase throughout all Pay TV, and the increases likely more than match the net drop of 31000 customers cited in the Variety article.

    This, of course, could change as well, if Dish Network and Verizon FiOS continue on with Sling TV and FiOS Custom TV, respectively.

    Actually I’m saying that the trend will be that overtime an overwhelming number of subscribers will opt only for Internet connectivity from their providers rather than getting TV programming from them – especially as the demographics skew to younger viewers as boomers like me begin to fade away. So, for cable providers they’re not losing the subscriber but they’re losing about 2/3 of that subscriber’s former revenue. Now, in order to defray the loss of that revenue cable providers can increase the rate for Internet connectivity but that will give subscribers an excuse to shop around and possibly jump to DSL from a telco.

    • #5
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:15 AM PDT
    • Like
  6. SkipSul Moderator

    Misthiocracy:Why I switched from cable to DSL: The cable company wouldn’t let me run my own server off my cable modem, but I found a discount DSL company that would let me run a web/ssh/OwnCloud server through my consumer DSL connection, and sells me a static IP number for only $4 a month. As such, I can securely access all my files at home without having to trust my data to a third-party cloud provider.

    Also, I can get “dry-copper” DSL (an Internet connection through the phone line but without the need for a home phone number, since I already have a cell phone through my job), but I cannot get “dry” cable Internet. If I want cable Internet, I also need to pay for at least basic cable tv programming. I believe this is a requirement of government regulation (i.e. a freebie for government-friendly broadcasters), but don’t quote me on that.

    Cable companies could try focusing on improving their services to Internet users, rather than worrying about content delivery.

    The situation is bass-ackwards here. I cannot get dry DSL, but I can get just internet over cable and they will let me upgrade to a static IP and host, for a fee.

    • #6
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:17 AM PDT
    • Like
  7. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    Jager:

    I actually hope that Al la carte is the next “innovation” in PayTV.

    There are two big obstacles to “a la carte” cable.

    The first is government regulation. There are certain channels that the government mandates every cable operator carry. That list of mandatory channels (that few people would ever choose to pay for) seems to increase every year. (I assume this is more of an issue in Canuckistan than the USA, of course, since Canuckistan regulates content more than the FCC does).

    The second is consolidation by content creators/providers. If one company owns a whole bunch of different channels, that company is incentivized to deny their popular channels to a cable company unless it bundles in all their other channels as well.

    It doesn’t really matter to me though. I prefer to buy individual tv shows via iTunes than pay monthly for individual tv channels.

    Say basic cable is about $40 a month. That’s $480 a year. Now, how many tv shows do I watch all the way through each year? Maybe 10, at the very most. If each tv show costs $40 for a season’s pass, that’s only $400 a year. Good deal, that (especially since most of the shows I like aren’t available through basic cable).

    Of course, this trade-off wouldn’t work for people who enjoy live tv programming, like sports and news.

    • #7
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:19 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. Profile Photo Member

    Brian Watt:

    Brad2971:Be careful about calling a net drop in overall subscribers a “loss of revenue.” Average Revenue per User (ARPU) continues to increase throughout all Pay TV, and the increases likely more than match the net drop of 31000 customers cited in the Variety article.

    This, of course, could change as well, if Dish Network and Verizon FiOS continue on with Sling TV and FiOS Custom TV, respectively.

    Actually I’m saying that the trend will be that overtime an overwhelming number of subscribers will opt only for Internet connectivity from their providers rather than getting TV programming from them – especially as the demographics skew to younger viewers as boomers like me begin to fade away. So, for cable providers they’re not losing the subscriber but they’re losing about 2/3 of that subscriber’s former revenue. Now, in order to defray the loss of that revenue cable providers can increase the rate for Internet connectivity but that will give subscribers an excuse to shop around and possibly jump to DSL from a telco.

    Considering the near-obsolescence of DSL technology, you’d be amazed at the number of people willing to suck up cable internet fee increase.

    • #8
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:21 AM PDT
    • Like
  9. Profile Photo Member

    Misthiocracy:Why I switched from cable to DSL: The cable company wouldn’t let me run my own server off my cable modem, but I found a discount DSL company that would let me run a web/ssh/OwnCloud server through my consumer DSL connection, and sells me a static IP number for only $4 a month. As such, I can securely access all my files at home without having to trust my data to a third-party cloud provider.

    Also, I can get “dry-copper” DSL (an Internet connection through the phone line but without the need for a home phone number, since I already have a cell phone through my job), but I cannot get “dry” cable Internet. If I want cable Internet, I also need to pay for at least basic cable tv programming. I believe this is a requirement of government regulation (i.e. a freebie for government-friendly broadcasters), but don’t quote me on that.

    To win me back, the cable company could try focusing on improving its services for Internet users, rather than worrying about content delivery. Make Internet services the primary product, with television programming as an “optional extra”, rather than the other way around. Since cable Internet is (generally) faster than DSL, I’d happily switch back if the service was comparable.

    I’d love to meet the US cable provider that makes you take cable TV if you want Internet.

    • #9
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:23 AM PDT
    • Like
  10. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    skipsul:

    Misthiocracy:Why I switched from cable to DSL: The cable company wouldn’t let me run my own server off my cable modem, but I found a discount DSL company that would let me run a web/ssh/OwnCloud server through my consumer DSL connection, and sells me a static IP number for only $4 a month. As such, I can securely access all my files at home without having to trust my data to a third-party cloud provider.

    Also, I can get “dry-copper” DSL (an Internet connection through the phone line but without the need for a home phone number, since I already have a cell phone through my job), but I cannot get “dry” cable Internet. If I want cable Internet, I also need to pay for at least basic cable tv programming. I believe this is a requirement of government regulation (i.e. a freebie for government-friendly broadcasters), but don’t quote me on that.

    Cable companies could try focusing on improving their services to Internet users, rather than worrying about content delivery.

    The situation is bass-ackwards here. I cannot get dry DSL, but I can get just internet over cable and they will let me upgrade to a static IP and host, for a fee.

    Interesting…

    Yet another reason to move South…

    • #10
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:24 AM PDT
    • Like
  11. captainpower Inactive

    Misthiocracy:[…] I cannot get “dry” cable Internet. If I want cable Internet, I also need to pay for at least basic cable tv programming. I believe this is a requirement of government regulation (i.e. a freebie for government-friendly broadcasters), but don’t quote me on that.

    Hello from the USA.

    I have Time Warner cable internet without any extra services. When signing up they really try to convince you that you want the “triple play” package with internet, cable tv, and a phone line, but it’s not required.

    • #11
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:24 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    captainpower:

    Misthiocracy:[…] I cannot get “dry” cable Internet. If I want cable Internet, I also need to pay for at least basic cable tv programming. I believe this is a requirement of government regulation (i.e. a freebie for government-friendly broadcasters), but don’t quote me on that.

    Hello from the USA.

    I have Time Warner cable internet without any extra services. When signing up they really try to convince you that you want the “triple play” package with internet, cable tv, and a phone line, but it’s not required.

    Ok, now y’all are just trying to make me cry.

    It’s working…

    • #12
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:26 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. captainpower Inactive

    Brad2971:Considering the near-obsolescence of DSL technology, you’d be amazed at the number of people willing to suck up cable internet fee increase.

    I don’t know. Every once in a while I hear about potential improvements to DSL.

    Now when will it hit the market for real? That’s another story.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=gigabit+dsl+site%3Aarstechnica.com

    e.g.

    http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/12/gigabit-dsl-with-a-fiber-boost-to-hit-market-next-year/

    http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/04/bell-labs-shows-off-10-gigabit-dsl/

    • #13
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:26 AM PDT
    • Like
  14. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Post author

    Misthiocracy:

    Jager:

    I actually hope that Al la carte is the next “innovation” in PayTV.

    There are two big obstacles to “a la carte” cable.

    The first is government regulation. There are certain channels that the government mandates every cable operator carry. That list of mandatory channels (that few people would ever choose to pay for) seems to increase every year. (I assume this is more of an issue in Canuckistan than the USA, of course, since Canuckistan regulates content more than the FCC does).

    The second is consolidation by content creators/providers. If one company owns a whole bunch of different channels, that company is incentivized to deny their popular channels to a cable company unless it bundles in all their other channels as well.

    Actually, my cable provider just sent out a notification that unless one rents a new mini-cable box from them (because of the transition to digital) to get the standard 40 channels currently available free over their coax feed that come August those channels will no longer be available. So, no more free standard channels without paying for their box. I thought that was a violation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act…but maybe I haven’t been keeping up to date with what Congress or the FCC has been up to.

    • #14
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:27 AM PDT
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  15. captainpower Inactive

    related:

    https://ricochet.com/oldies-tv-on-demand/

    • #15
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:28 AM PDT
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  16. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    FYI: My monthly DSL fee is C$39.95 (US$31.88). That includes my static IP address, and 300GB of prime-time traffic per month (unlimited traffic in non-prime-time). Even with heavy video/torrenting, I’ve never exceeded the 300GB limit.

    How does that compare to what y’all pay? My ISP is a university-run non-profit that resells DSL at (near) cost.

    • #16
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:30 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    Brian Watt:

    Actually, my cable provider just sent out a notification that unless one rents a new mini-cable box from them (because of the transition to digital) to get the standard 40 channels currently available free over their coax feed that come August those channels will no longer be available. So, no more free standard channels without paying for their box. I thought that was a violation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act…but maybe I haven’t been keeping up to date with what Congress or the FCC has been up to.

    I thought all new TVs had the digital cable box built-in, ever since the switch to digital was first announced.

    So, they made people get new TVs AND they’re making people get a new set-top box as well?! If true, that sucks.

    I’m glad I live on the 24th floor. My over-the-air tv reception is pretty great. I can get PBS all the way from Platsburgh (about 144 miles away), and the reception is way better than the local CBC channel (whose broadcast tower is only about 12 miles away, but is on the other side of my building and the signal can’t get through the concrete).

    • #17
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:32 AM PDT
    • Like
  18. SkipSul Moderator

    Misthiocracy:

    Brian Watt:

    Actually, my cable provider just sent out a notification that unless one rents a new mini-cable box from them (because of the transition to digital) to get the standard 40 channels currently available free over their coax feed that come August those channels will no longer be available. So, no more free standard channels without paying for their box. I thought that was a violation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act…but maybe I haven’t been keeping up to date with what Congress or the FCC has been up to.

    I thought all new TVs had the digital cable box built-in, ever since the switch to digital was first announced.

    So, they made people get new TVs AND they’re making people get a new set-top box as well?! If true, that sucks.

    The issue is encryption and the unwillingness of the cable TV companies to adopt the “Cable Card” slots.

    • #18
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:36 AM PDT
    • Like
  19. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Post author

    Misthiocracy:

    Brian Watt:

    Actually, my cable provider just sent out a notification that unless one rents a new mini-cable box from them (because of the transition to digital) to get the standard 40 channels currently available free over their coax feed that come August those channels will no longer be available. So, no more free standard channels without paying for their box. I thought that was a violation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act…but maybe I haven’t been keeping up to date with what Congress or the FCC has been up to.

    I thought all new TVs had the digital cable box built-in, ever since the switch to digital was first announced.

    So, they made people get new TVs AND they’re making people get a new set-top box as well?! If true, that sucks.

    What I could do is wait for the August date and see if I can still get some of those channels before I return my DVR since I believe all of them are digital anyway. Maybe I’ll do a Channel Setup on my guest room TV and see how many analog channels show up, if any.

    • #19
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:37 AM PDT
    • Like
  20. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    skipsul:

    Misthiocracy:

    Brian Watt:

    Actually, my cable provider just sent out a notification that unless one rents a new mini-cable box from them (because of the transition to digital) to get the standard 40 channels currently available free over their coax feed that come August those channels will no longer be available. So, no more free standard channels without paying for their box. I thought that was a violation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act…but maybe I haven’t been keeping up to date with what Congress or the FCC has been up to.

    I thought all new TVs had the digital cable box built-in, ever since the switch to digital was first announced.

    So, they made people get new TVs AND they’re making people get a new set-top box as well?! If true, that sucks.

    The issue is encryption and the unwillingness of the cable TV companies to adopt the “Cable Card” slots.

    Encryption for free channels that are also available over-the-air?

    • #20
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:38 AM PDT
    • Like
  21. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Post author

    Misthiocracy:

    Brian Watt:

    Actually, my cable provider just sent out a notification that unless one rents a new mini-cable box from them (because of the transition to digital) to get the standard 40 channels currently available free over their coax feed that come August those channels will no longer be available. So, no more free standard channels without paying for their box. I thought that was a violation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act…but maybe I haven’t been keeping up to date with what Congress or the FCC has been up to.

    I thought all new TVs had the digital cable box built-in, ever since the switch to digital was first announced.

    So, they made people get new TVs AND they’re making people get a new set-top box as well?! If true, that sucks.

    I’m glad I live on the 24th floor. My over-the-air tv reception is pretty great. I can get PBS all the way from Platsburgh (about 144 miles away), and the reception is way better than the local CBC channel (whose broadcast tower is only about 12 miles away, but is on the other side of my building and the signal can’t get through the concrete).

    My home is in a residential tract and though I have clear line-of-site to a telecom tower that tower has only about two or three over-the-air HDTV channels. Even though my home is on a hill, I’m still surrounded by larger hills so it sits in a sort of elevated bowl. If I lived in LA there would be a plethora (I love that word) of available over-the-air HD signals to get but not in affluent backwater where I live.

    • #21
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:42 AM PDT
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  22. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    Brian Watt:

    My home is in a residential tract and though I have clear line-of-site to a telecom tower that tower has only about two or three over-the-air HDTV channels. Even though my home is on a hill, I’m still surrounded by larger hills so it sits in a sort of elevated bowl. If I lived in LA there would be a plethora (I love that word) of available over-the-air HD signals to get but not in affluent backwater where I live.

    For a few years there was a service in my town that offered lots of cheap tv/internet by installing a dish on your roof that pointed at the closest microwave tower rather than pointing at a satellite.

    They were never able to make a go of it, for some reason. My best guess is they they couldn’t bundle in home phone or cell phone service. I’ve also heard that while Internet downloading was via the microwave signal, uploading was done via the phone line at dial-up speeds.

    • #22
    • June 1, 2015, at 11:52 AM PDT
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  23. SkipSul Moderator

    Misthiocracy:

    Brian Watt:

    My home is in a residential tract and though I have clear line-of-site to a telecom tower that tower has only about two or three over-the-air HDTV channels. Even though my home is on a hill, I’m still surrounded by larger hills so it sits in a sort of elevated bowl. If I lived in LA there would be a plethora (I love that word) of available over-the-air HD signals to get but not in affluent backwater where I live.

    For a few years there was a service in my town that offered lots of cheap tv/internet by installing a dish on your roof that pointed at the closest microwave tower rather than pointing at a satellite.

    They were never able to make a go of it, for some reason. My best guess is they they couldn’t bundle in home phone or cell phone service. I’ve also heard that while Internet downloading was via the microwave signal, uploading was done via the phone line at dial-up speeds.

    We had a similar system at work – satellite instead of tower – but the limitation was the same – dial for upload. They eventually upgraded, but it was pretty awful at the time.

    • #23
    • June 1, 2015, at 12:02 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. Gary McVey Contributor

    I re-routed my home coax network in 2010 to accommodate antenna in most rooms, but the internet deal makes a basic cable tier really cheap, on the order of $14 a month, plus having the tier means we are regularly “tempted” with three to six months of free HBO and/or Showtime, so it hasn’t been worth dropping entirely. I route cable to two sets and record both cable and antenna via a Hauppauge tuner on a PC.

    Bundlers are gatekeepers; conservatives should enjoy seeing gatekeepers taken out of the pipeline, especially gatekeepers we don’t much like.

    I do warn friends, though: With a la carte, BET and plenty of other channels you pay for but relatively few people watch will disappear. That’s why BET lobbies to make a la carte sound “anti-Black”. But that’s why EWTN quietly lobbies to make a la carte sound “anti-Catholic”. The religious channels, most of them, will get whacked in the new setup. Culturally speaking, a la carte is better for free markets and free minds, but let’s not kid ourselves; some nice channels are gonna get hurt too.

    • #24
    • June 1, 2015, at 12:14 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. Profile Photo Member

    Gary McVey:I re-routed my home coax network in 2010 to accommodate antenna in most rooms, but the internet deal makes a basic cable tier really cheap, on the order of $14 a month, plus having the tier means we are regularly “tempted” with three to six months of free HBO and/or Showtime, so it hasn’t been worth dropping entirely. I route cable to two sets and record both cable and antenna via a Hauppauge tuner on a PC.

    Bundlers are gatekeepers; conservatives should enjoy seeing gatekeepers taken out of the pipeline, especially gatekeepers we don’t much like.

    I do warn friends, though: With a la carte, BET and plenty of other channels you pay for but relatively few people watch will disappear. That’s why BET lobbies to make a la carte sound “anti-Black”. But that’s why EWTN quietly lobbies to make a la carte sound “anti-Catholic”. The religious channels, most of them, will get whacked in the new setup. Culturally speaking, a la carte is better for free markets and free minds, but let’s not kid ourselves; some nice channels are gonna get hurt too.

    I always wonder whether or not anyone who advocates for a la carte fully understands how much Fox News is dependent on cable subscriber fees (100% or more of operating profit is subscriber fees).

    • #25
    • June 1, 2015, at 12:23 PM PDT
    • Like
  26. captainpower Inactive

    Gary McVey:Culturally speaking, a la carte is better for free markets and free minds, but let’s not kid ourselves; some nice channels are gonna get hurt too.

    I would pay $1/month to see C-span continue to exist. Maybe $3.

    I already do similar for several other causes through http://patreon or http://paypal.

    • #26
    • June 1, 2015, at 12:38 PM PDT
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  27. captainpower Inactive

    Brad2971:I always wonder whether or not anyone who advocates for a la carte fully understands how much Fox News is dependent on cable subscriber fees (100% or more of operating profit is subscriber fees).

    If I understand correctly, the whole point of A La Carte cable channels is to allow for subscriber fees to go to the channels people actually care about.

    If I only want ESPN2, then my full subscription goes to ESPN2. Presumably, costs would be broken down per-channel as well. So if I want a popular channel like ESPN, I would pay more than for a less popular channel like ESPN5.

    I imagine this could extend to news channels so MSNBC would be cheaper than Fox News.

    Under this a-la-carte model, it’s unknown and hard for outsiders like us to anticipate the impact on individual channels. I imagine popular channels will be unaffected or positively affected, while unpopular/subsidized channels will be negatively affected.

    • #27
    • June 1, 2015, at 12:42 PM PDT
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  28. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Post author

    Brad2971:

    Gary McVey:I re-routed my home coax network in 2010 to accommodate antenna in most rooms, but the internet deal makes a basic cable tier really cheap, on the order of $14 a month, plus having the tier means we are regularly “tempted” with three to six months of free HBO and/or Showtime, so it hasn’t been worth dropping entirely. I route cable to two sets and record both cable and antenna via a Hauppauge tuner on a PC.

    Bundlers are gatekeepers; conservatives should enjoy seeing gatekeepers taken out of the pipeline, especially gatekeepers we don’t much like.

    I do warn friends, though: With a la carte, BET and plenty of other channels you pay for but relatively few people watch will disappear. That’s why BET lobbies to make a la carte sound “anti-Black”. But that’s why EWTN quietly lobbies to make a la carte sound “anti-Catholic”. The religious channels, most of them, will get whacked in the new setup. Culturally speaking, a la carte is better for free markets and free minds, but let’s not kid ourselves; some nice channels are gonna get hurt too.

    I always wonder whether or not anyone who advocates for a la carte fully understands how much Fox News is dependent on cable subscriber fees (100% or more of operating profit is subscriber fees).

    I can get both the local Fox affiliate and FoxNews now through standard cable without a DVR or cable box. Other than advertising revenue is Fox deriving substantial revenue from that standard feed that by law providers had to provide or perhaps the question should be what is percentage of revenue that Fox gets with tiered cable offerings versus the standard channel feed available currently available with just a simple provider hook up?

    • #28
    • June 1, 2015, at 12:43 PM PDT
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  29. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Post author

    Gary McVey:Bundlers are gatekeepers; conservatives should enjoy seeing gatekeepers taken out of the pipeline, especially gatekeepers we don’t much like.

    Can they be taken out of the pipeline? I’m speaking of the set top box/blu-ray player/smart TV manufacturers who offer the hardware delivery mechanism, not the pipe.

    • #29
    • June 1, 2015, at 12:48 PM PDT
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  30. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    Brad2971:

    I always wonder whether or not anyone who advocates for a la carte fully understands how much Fox News is dependent on cable subscriber fees (100% or more of operating profit is subscriber fees).

    Up here in the Great White North, Sun News Channel failed because the (independent) government regulator refused to add it to the “must carry” list for cable companies, unlike CBC News and CTV News (or the Aboriginal People’s Television Network, or The Women’s Network, or TV5 from France, etc, etc).

    Under an a la carte system, Sun News Channel may have had better odds of survival, because at least then it would have been competing with the other news channels on an even playing field.

    • #30
    • June 1, 2015, at 12:52 PM PDT
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