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Average American Cable Subscriber Gets 189 Channels and Views 17 340

An anonymous reader writes "Nielsen, the company that studies the viewing habits of television viewers, announced its findings in a blog post Tuesday. Since 2008, the number of cable TV channels offered as a bundle rose from 129 to 189 in 2013, but in that time-frame viewers have consistently only watched an average of 17 channels. The data seems to support the notion that consumers are better off subscribing to channels a la carte, but cable companies are of the opinion that 'the price of cable TV wouldn't change much if channels were served à la carte because content providers won't sell the most popular programs to cable companies unless the provider's other channels are also served up.' Nielsen concluded in its post that 'quality is imperative—for both content creators and advertisers', signaling the possibility that more Americans will cut the cord after realizing that their cable bill has increased in the last few years but their consumption of content hasn't."
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Average American Cable Subscriber Gets 189 Channels and Views 17

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:18PM (#46945657)

    I live in rural Texas and have one choice for Internet and TV. I pay $128 a month for 250 channels and a 30MBit connection. I watch the following channels:

    - BBC America
    - SyFy
    - Travel
    - History
    - HGTV
    - USA
    - Animal Planet
    - Local affiliate for Revolution TV show
    - My kids watch Nick Jr. and Nick, sometimes Disney

    Maybe 10 channels.. what a waste of money. I have the least amount of channels I can get and still qualify for the bundle. If I could get BBC America, I would gladly cut cable, as the rest I can get online.

  • This makes sense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:21PM (#46945683)

    I am convinced that the price per channel would go up if everyone was able to purchase channels a la carte.

    It costs $X to produce all the content, and they need to charge each customer more than $Y (where y = x / number of customers) on average in order to make a profit. Everybody knows no one could possibly be watching 200 channels. But if all of a sudden people decide they want to only pay for 20 channels, then everybody is going to be paying the same price for just those 20 channels.

    People want a la carte because they think it will be cheaper, but it probably won't be on average. For example It'll be cheaper for people who watch 5 channels and more expensive for people who watch 30.

    The real way to save money on a la carte, is to cut out the middle man (e.g. the cable companies). If you can purchase content directly from the supplier (e.g. from HBO, or comedy central, etc), that's however many less salaraies that need to be paid by your subscription costs.

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @11:24PM (#46946133)

    When I moved a year ago I haven't signed back up for satellite or cable at the new house. Honestly, its just not worth the bill. I pay $8 per month for Netflix and paid $50 one time for a decent HDTV antenna. That gives me plenty of stuff to browse around on and basic broadcast TV. If HBO made HBO GO available as a separate service I'd probably get it just for Game of Thrones, but I'm still doing OK without it (honestly, I'm torrenting it, but I'd be willing to pay $5/month for HBO GO if they'd do it).

  • by dutchwhizzman ( 817898 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @02:39AM (#46946913)

    Sure, lots of channels will cease to exist. But the makers of the content are already using different outlets like youtube to get their content out there. Once they get enough following there, they might strike a deal with netflix or a similar company. Just because "24/7 content you can't choose" goes away doesn't mean that you can't replace it with "content you choose whenever you want it".

    TV has been the industrial age of amusement and news. In a lot of "industrial" products, we are now producing custom ordered items, keeping the price low because of automation. If you don't buy your car off the lot, you can have any colour, engine and accessory package you want. It will be produced especially for you and it won't cost you a dollar more than the same car would cost you off the lot. I don't fit in confection sizes (too tall) and I have a lot of my clothing made. Compared to name brands, my clothing is cheaper and often higher in quality. This is because they now have computer controlled cutting machines that calculate the correct fabric cuts and the fabric gets cut by a robot. This is how modern TV is going to work as well.

    People now have a choice what content to watch and when to watch it. It may be bad for TV channel owners, but in the end, this will provide improved quality and diversity of content at a price that people are willing to pay for it. Advertising models will adapt to this. In show product placement, more ads on the cheaper subscription compared to the premium one and so on. Don't be fussy about people moving your cheese but adapt and reap the benefits.

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal