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Television Entertainment

The Cable Industry's a La Carte Bait and Switch 447

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the television-is-so-90s dept.
jfruhlinger writes "For years, cable operators have insisted that a la carte pricing, in which users could chose the channels they want, would undermine the both their own business models and the existence of important but less-watched channels currently wrapped into bundles. That's why it was surprising to hear that major cable companies are privately working towards offering a la carte pricing. But when you look at the details, it seems more like a bait and switch: those lesser channels (which pay cable companies for their place on the dial) will still be bundled with the local stations cable companies are required to provide, whereas pricey sports channels (which cable companies have to pay for) will become HBO-like premium services."
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The Cable Industry's a La Carte Bait and Switch

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  • by cpotoso (606303) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @11:25AM (#37541128) Journal
    Who needs it? I can get about 10 channels over the air, for free, most of them in HD. Then there is the internet (which comes from my cable company, but with whom I do not have any service other than internet). Don't like their pricing schemes, don't buy it. It is not air, water, food, shelter, education or transportation. It is really optional.
  • by Fortunato_NC (736786) <(verlinh75) (at) (> on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @11:28AM (#37541168) Homepage Journal

    Your assumption is that once the sport channels are removed, the price of basic cable will fall. I am not sure that the cable companies are on board with you here.

  • stupid suckers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thud457 (234763) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @11:40AM (#37541366) Homepage Journal
    Is that where old people pay to get programming with ads?
  • by drb226 (1938360) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @11:42AM (#37541410)
    The idea is to let you choose how much money you want to waste on TV. If you want the popular, lucrative channels, then you may pay for them. Or not. This is not a bait and switch. This is someone whining that they will now have to pay slightly more for the channels they want to watch, rather than forcing the rest of the viewership to subsidize them. Just because the cable companies will end up getting more money doesn't mean this is a bad thing for me; it just means that a lot of people are dumb enough to shell out more money for the dumb things they watch on TV.
  • by s73v3r (963317) <`s73v3r' `at' `'> on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @11:43AM (#37541424)

    You realize that every damn thing you watch is subsidized by others as well, right? That you're not an island, and rely on others to split the cost of providing the channel with you just as much as they do for sports?

  • by waddgodd (34934) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @11:45AM (#37541458) Homepage Journal

    I've seen this issue from both sides, as a consumer, and as working as a CSR for a cable company. The absolutely hilarious part here is that most consumers that want ala carte channels think that their cable bills will go down with ala carte. Needless to say, they won't. What will end up happening is they'll look at the ten or so most popular channels, make them total $20-$30/month, then make the rest of the other 200+ channels total up to the remaining $30-$50 that cable customers know and dislike. THEN the premiums get thrown in. So basically, ala carte will raise your bills for less service. What's not to like from the Cable company's standpoint?

  • Kill your TV! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @12:05PM (#37541794) Journal

    Ok, maybe not kill it, but wound it severely. We dropped cable a year ago and I tell ya, I really appreciate that extra $120 each and every month. It's like getting a raise.

    If you're in a place that will support it, real TV antennas are making a comeback. The price is modest and the content is free! And just about everything else is available off the internet, especially if you don't insist on watching it the very moment it's broadcast.

    I think cable TV is the dial-up service of this century. It's expensive, redundant and unnecessary, but is still popular for reasons that aren't entirely clear.

    A Comcast salescreature comes by about once a month and tries to sell us on switching to a package deal. I say I'm happy with what I have (fibre to the house). He says but your carrier is getting out of the cable business!!! You're not going to get cable TV anymore!!! In the same tone of voice you'd say They're going to cut off your Oxygen!!! I tell him yes, I don't get cable TV , just internet. He looks at me like the refrigerator salesman looked at the Amish couple. They just can't understand not wanting cable TV. It's AOL all over again -- they couldn't understand why I didn't need them anymore when I switched to broadband. "But what about email?" Free. "Our content?" Crap. "How are you going to get to the internet??" Broadband includes the internet, that's kinda the point. And so on.

  • by wall0645 (1665631) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @12:08PM (#37541816)
    Why settle for not buying cable when you can just not watch TV period? All of a sudden I have time to learn guitar, read books, exercise, cook my own food, etc. Plus, I don't have advertisements constantly flashing before my eyes (which you pay to watch on cable; you "get them" for free on non-cable) telling me "consume, consume, CONSUME."
  • by Miseph (979059) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @01:05PM (#37542720) Journal

    If you are paying to subsidize the cost of your phone, but purchased the phone at an unsubsidized price, then where is that money going?

    I've sold cell phones, and I know several people who have made careers out of it. I am not aware of any provider in the US that will charge a lower monthly rate to customers who own their phones outright. Furthermore, due to the way in which salespeople are compensated in that in industry, I am not aware of anyone who would be eager to advertise, market, recommend, process or even acknowledge the existence of such a program.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.