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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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  • 200 channels... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kaenneth ( 82978 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:10PM (#46945601) Homepage Journal

    and nothing to watch.

    • Re:200 channels... (Score:5, Informative)

      by GreatDrok ( 684119 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:34PM (#46945791) Journal

      "and nothing to watch."

      Yeah, we had satellite for a good long time but gradually pared back the channels we received because many we wanted were tied to other channels we didn't and that pushed the price up. Once we got to the basic package we realised that the vast majority of what we watched was on free to air digital HD via our TiVo so we dropped Satellite. We're down to about ten channels now. Still nothing to watch though.

      • that is my problem. all the channels I do watch are only available in huge bundles of one or two channels each.

        So I have to do all or nothing. However next week I am taking my cable box in and going for nothing.

        • If there were ever a satellite network that would deliver sports only (ESPN, FS. etc), it would rip the fabric of the cable TV world.
    • Here's the Scoop (Score:5, Insightful)

      by schnell ( 163007 ) <me&schnell,net> on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @11:57PM (#46946335) Homepage

      Nobody wants to hear this, but it's the truth and people should understand it:

      • Unbundling will not happen anytime soon
      • This is because a handful of TV channels have a f***load of viewers (ESPN, Fox News, etc.)
      • If your TV station has a f**kload of viewers, you are an idiot if you don't charge cable providers a high fee to carry it
      • If you paid for each of those channels a la carte, it might be $10+/month or more, just like HBO
      • Instead, those providers "bundle" those channels with less popular ones because - even though the big channels are the cash cows - they still make money on advertising from less popular channels
      • For anyone (Disney, Fox, others) who have killer content on one channel, having more channels (even including less popular ones) = more money
      • People pay higher cable bills, but more niche programming is out there - for example, the fact that you get Cartoon Network/Adult Swim is subsidized by what you pay for CNN. If channels were unbundled, it's unlikely that the ratings of "Adventure Time" or "Venture Brothers" could pay for Cartoon Network to be on the air.
      • Unbundling may happen at some point, but when it does 70% of today's cable networks will go away. Maybe you don't watch most of them, but recognize that it will result in a diminishing of the wild diversity of programming (brilliant and crap, left and right politically, in many languages) that is arguably one of the best things about the "there's nothing on" diversity of channels today that doesn't appeal to many viewers but serves many previously neglected niches.
      • 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.

        • by mrxak ( 727974 )

          All this talk of robots and automation as relating to television just makes me think of the Network Execubots from Futurama.

      • by havana9 ( 101033 )
        I think that some content provider will goo in a free to air mode. This in obvious on terrestrial television and also on satellite TV: if you're getting money from advertising being FTA will make tour channel more interesting for advertisers than ona in a pay tv bundle because more people will watch it. Maybe for CATV the dynamics are different, or the fact that in USA there's not TV licensing is limiting the number of FTA or FTV channels.
        Italy [],France [], Austria [] have a choice of free to view/free to air cha
      • by odie5533 ( 989896 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @05:53AM (#46947479)
        The subsidization of niches seems to be failing of late. Rather than serving their niche, low-tier channels want more viewers so they can get a bigger cut of the pie. To do this, they tailor their programs for mass appeal. When once the History channel presented factual information about history, now it airs episodes of Pawn Stars and Ancient Aliens. When once TLC actually stood for The Learning Channel, now it airs things I'm embarrassed to know the names of. When once Sci-Fi aired niche science-fiction series, now SyFy is mostly about Ghost Hunting series. Abandoning the niche pulls in more viewers. I'd gladly pay $10+/month for an actual Sci-Fi channel that aired original science fiction series that haven't been retooled for the lowest common denominator of viewer. I think internet series are going to fill the niches going forward, while television seems to be homogenizing.
      • Unbundling will not happen anytime soon

        I think you're right, but what may happen sooner is that the whole "cable" system goes away. My prediction is that within 10 years, the number of cord-cutters will grow, and you'll see people move to streaming solutions similar to Netflix and Hulu. Of course, those services will continue to "bundle" in a bunch of content that you're not interested in, either, but nobody will care. You don't hear people complaining, "Why am I paying for that movie on Netflix that I have no interest in watching? Just let

    • I'd disagree. This is subjective of course. On my U-Verse dvr, I constantly have a backlog of 60-80 hours of shows. TV series, sports, animal shows, movies, travel shows, etc. I wouldn't have been aware if some of these even existed without taking occasionally time to "browse" what's on those 200 channels. In my view, the biggest problem with cable TV right now is not bundling, but the incessant commercials. A typical news program, sports, or TV series is loaded with commercials. The real content is like 70

  • I be willing to spend a few bucks a station to only get what I want. Could spend maybe $20 and get what I want and saved like $60

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Could spend maybe $20 and get what I want and saved like $60

      Exactly why they won't let you.

    • I Think it would probably cost the same price to get just what you want. They already know you aren't watching most of the channels, but it doesn't cost them any more money to give you all of them.

      The only time they are losing money is when they are giving you something for free that you would have been willing to pay for.

    • I be willing to spend a few bucks a station to only get what I want. Could spend maybe $20 and get what I want and saved like $60

      People want ala-carte pricing because they think it will save them money Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.

      For example, if you are paying $100 a month for 200 channels that works out to 50 cents per channel. So people think they could just pick 20 channels and only pay $10 a month. But, there's nothing that says the cable would have to charge the same price for all channels. They could charge higher prices for the more popular channels and your total cost would remain approximately the same.

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      I like what cox communication has done. Basic cable for $35, removing the channels that has high carriage fees, such as ESPN which in aggregate costs over $6.

      The only reason it will cost more per subscriber in some cases is that the costs will not longer be distributed among the 10 million viewers that subsidize the channel. So ESPN will have to decide if it can charge 2,000,000 viewers $20 a month, or cut costs an live on what the free market will actually bear instead of depending on a socialized mark

      • Re:Oh yeah right (Score:5, Informative)

        by pete6677 ( 681676 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @11:04PM (#46946003)

        How can Cox get away with this? Disney is famous for saying "carry all of our channels or none". That means that all of the ESPN channels, Disney channels, ABC, and every other channel that Disney owns must be included with all of a cable company's packages (and charged accordingly) or Disney will refuse to deal with that cable company at all. How can Cox (whoever they are) get away with a deal that no other cable or satellite provider has managed to get?

  • It gets worse (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:15PM (#46945633)

    On 17 channels, how many actual shows are being watched...

    Most people would be financially better off just buying what they like on iTunes, even at $3/episode.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Especially when they don't even have commercials!

    • by dirk ( 87083 )

      This sounds great but the math doesn't work out. If most people watch 17 channels let's say it's really 13 channels they have to pay 4 (removing the big 4 over the air channels). Let's assume they watch 2 shows on each channel (which seems fair). Most shows have 22 episodes a season (yes, some have less but then you also have daily shows and weekly shows that go all year). So 26 shows times 22 episodes times 3 dollars = 1716 dollars a year or $143 dollars a month. That is more than most people spend on cabl

  • 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.

    • You can buy individual shows from Amazon for $1.99 an episode. They have many of the shows that air on cable. Make a list of the shows you and your kids watch. See what is on Netflix and Amazon (both Prime streaming or pay-per-episode streaming). You might find that you'd save money by getting your shows from there instead of cable.

  • by The Grim Reefer ( 1162755 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:19PM (#46945671)

    So even with 189 channels, Pink Floyd is still pretty close with the lyrics from "Nobody's Home"

    I've got thirteen channels of shit on the T.V. to choose from.

  • by jasno ( 124830 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:21PM (#46945681) Journal

    Wife is addicted to crap TV. I would cancel my $200/mo U-Verse service in a second if she'd let me.

  • 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.

    • 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.

      Of course, you'll also end up paying for more channels.

      I like my movies and have pretty much all the movie channels my cable provider offers: HBO, Cinemax (same parent company), Showtime, The Movie Channel (same parent company), Starz, Encore (same parent company), and Epix. So I'd end up with those, because they produce original programming, but I'd also end up with subscriptions to Sony, Universal, Disney, Paramount, etc.

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

      Yes it would, but your bill would still go down. Only thing you lose is the pissing match about how many "channels" you can brag that you have.

      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.

      Not true. Some channels will go away no matter what. Other channels will find customers don't value the

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      At 17 out of 189 channels, you could let people pay tenfold for the popular channels, and they'd still pay less.

      • You could let people play 10 fold for only the channels they want and the cable companies still wouldn't make as much money. That's a pretty good reason for the cable companies to either keep the model they've got, or to charge more than ten fold per channel.
    • by Camael ( 1048726 )

      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.

      Likely so, but even then the cost of paying for just that one channel that you do want to watch will likely be substantially lower than the package that you now pay for which includes all the other crap channels you do not want to watch.


      • Imagine if there's this shirt that you want to buy, but its only sold in a package for $200 with 4 other shirts sized XXXL which you will never wear. Does it even make sense to buy the bundle?

        Yeah and imagine if the shirt by itself were $190, then paying $200 for a 5 pack (where you can;t use 4 of them doesn't sound so bad). We live in a world where the shirt companies just need $200 from every customer and they have unlimited shirts. charging $200 for a shirt seems outrageous so they try to help you rationalize by giving 5 shirts for the price of 1.

    • by jrumney ( 197329 )

      Its even more obvious that a-la-carte will not necessarily be cheaper when you look at packages with foreign language channels. I don't think the viewership patterns are any different for other packages, just not so glaringly obvious.

      My wife is Japanese. Our pay TV provider carries one Japanese language channel (NHK World Premium). It is bundled in a premium package with about a dozen Chinese channels (a mixture of Cantonese and Mandarin). Neither of us speaks any Chinese dialect, so it is just the one c

  • by RogueWarrior65 ( 678876 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:24PM (#46945697)

    Does this number include the duplicate HD channels, the spanish channels, the religious channels, or the pay-per-view channels? 36 shopping channels? Really? REALLY PEOPLE?!? AMAZON ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YA?!?!?

    • You just explain why people watch only such a small subset of channels.

      For you the Spanish channels may not be interesting, for someone else they may be all they watch.

      And be glad that Amazon is not good enough for all of us! They're monopolistic enough already. Try to imagine a world where the only place to buy stuff is Amazon (and, where the only place someone can sell stuff, is Amazon). Just the though of it scares me.

      • But think about the amount of money spent to create and maintain 36 separate shopping channels and the amount of money spent to produce long infomercials and then think about the fact that there are enough people buying all this crap to not only pay for all of that but to turn a profit. Barnum was right.

  • I dumped Dish earlier this year. Same reasons; too many commercials on the few channels I did watch, and their last price hike crossed the $50 line.

    They tried to convince me stay by offering a free upgrade to HD, but I told them I didn't have an HDTV. That is not strictly speaking true, my TV will do 720P, but it does not have an HDMI input (it has component, composite and S-video.) But close enough. All these HDMI-only boxes are useless (including yours Apple.) And no I'm not replacing my TV until it dies.

  • by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:33PM (#46945781)
    So the reason we can't pick and choose, instead of buying bundles is because of anti-competitive measures by the suppliers?
  • Before we cut the cable, our family watched:

    PBS, CBS, NBC, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, E and A&E

    We switched to a pure NetFlix and HD antenna environment and couldn't think of going back. We even upgraded all the TVs in the house with the first year savings. Even the ESPN "exclusive" stuff (college basketball and football) can be streamed from somewhere for free.

    • by schnell ( 163007 )

      Even the ESPN "exclusive" stuff (college basketball and football) can be streamed from somewhere for free.

      Just out of curiosity, what are those (legal) options? I would care far less about ESPN if I could get Monday Night Football legally on my TV somewhere else...

    • We switched to just Netflix+UnblockUS about a year ago. OTA is pretty much useless around here (Saskatchewan, Canada).

      Still paying $90/mo for internet, though. To be fair its 100Mbps, which is mostly for the higher bandwidth limit.

  • ...and nothing on. The Boss said it well.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • $60+ for ESPN (Score:4, Informative)

    by CritterNYC ( 190163 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:42PM (#46945867) Homepage
    And a big part of that is the over $60 a year you're spending on ESPN and associated networked even if you never watch sports.
    • I keep telling the cable salesman that once he has more BBC channels than just BBC America, I might think about it. I also require Showcase, Sky, etc...I haven't had "cable TV" in years, just bit torrent, netflix, and 5TB of storage. Honestly, after watching the documentary "Century of the Self", even if cable TV was free I still think I'd skip it due to the highly manipulative commercials trying to convince me to "show my individuality" via mass consumerism.
  • Wrong conclusions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hibiki_r ( 649814 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @10:43PM (#46945875)

    The fact that most people only watch a few channels doesn't really mean that a la carte would be cheaper overall.

    Imagine that there are two channels. It takes a hundred bucks to keep the channel airing for a month. We have two viewers, A and B. A likes channel 1, and B likes channel 2, and they dislike the other channel. Right now, they each pay $100 to watch both channels, although they only look at one. Each channel gets paid $50 per bill.

    So imagine that we switched to A la carte. Now A only subscribes to 1, and B only subscribes to 2. They channels still need the same amount of money to stay on the air, so what is the new price? subscribing to channel 1 is $100, and subscribing to channel 2 is $100 too. both channels get the same amount of money, both people pay the same bill... and they now get half the programming. Success?

    So let's say that now ESPN charges $20 per subscriber. They do so, because they believe that the value they provide to the average subscriber is about $20. Let's say I don't like ESPN, Well, ESPN didn't get any less valuable, it's just that I will not pay the $20, and said $20 are going to be passed on as rate hikes to the people that want to watch the channel.

    So while some people that really just watch very few, cheap channels, might get some savings, if your 17 channels include ESPN, Disney Channel, CNN, AMC and HBO, guess what? You will probably be paying a whole lot more than before, as unbundling makes every single channel more expensive, and you just happened to like 'anchor' channels that can really ask for a premium.

    • Your argument is based on the assumption that the price per channel reflect the cost of running it. It does not.

      The income for a channel is based on what the market (subscribers, advertisers) will pay. The channel has to create its content based on that income. This basically means that in your scenario, if both viewers wanted only channel 1, they would pay half the cost.
      Channel 2 would be without viewers, and would have the hard choice of either creating attractive content to get its viewer back, or
    • by stdarg ( 456557 )

      The reason your example works out like that is the channels have equal costs, which is unrealistic.

      Let's say channel 1 costs $80/subscriber and channel 2 costs $20. So the total is still $100 with 2 subscribers.

      Now they unbundle. A, which likes channel 1, now pays $160/month. B pays only $40/month.

      My example is taking advantage of the difference between popularity (50% each) and cost (80% vs 20%). Perhaps in real life, the channel which costs $20 would only get 20% of the subscribers, in which case they'd s

  • It'll stop the ESPNs and CNNs from extorting cable providers. ESPN charges a BOATLOAD for licensing because they know that cable providers can't risk losing the 33% or so of their base for whom that would be a showstopper. Now, if we have a la carte, do you think that 1/3 of the customer base will pay 3 times as much each for ESPN (that would probably be about $25/month) to maintain pricing parity? NO!

    It'll also eliminate the garbage channel suites (with clones repeating the same content) as well has put

    • You don't quite understand the problem.
      ESPN and CNN are forcing cable to bundle, not the other way around.
      Did you know ESPN is owned by Disney? They force sports fans to get Disney kids ....
      Works both ways.
      Putting pressure on the cable companies does nothing. Write congress, not much likely to happen there.
      Drop to basic service if you don't want bundles.
  • You all know that they have the technology - via the digital set-top boxes - to only charge you for the minutes you watch, but no-one even talks about that. Why am I paying for ESPN even when I'm watching NBC?

    That's why the cable companies are "fighting" ala carte & will finally give in. They don't want folks really thinking about this.

    If my phone company can charge me by the minute why can't the cable TV company?

  • >"Average American Cable Subscriber Gets 189 Channels and Views 17"

    I must be above average then (or perhaps below average), since I get something like 300+ channels and watch maybe 8?

    Ones I can get over the air (so I don't count those 6, of which I might even watch only 3)+

  • It's the Sports (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rhyas ( 100444 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @11:09PM (#46946029) Journal

    It would be interesting to see if those 17 average out to specific channels, or categories of channels. i.e. Sports Broadcasts.

    Honestly, I'd be a cord cutter and I know a lot of other people who would as well, if there were *reliable* alternate way to get the sporting events I want to watch. Baseball, Hockey, Soccer, Auto Racing, just to name a few that you can't really get outside of a cable subscription. Football *could* be piled in there as well, mostly because there are relatively few games on the broadcast channels on any given weekend for a given region. However, NFL is probably the *most* available of any sport.

    I never watch anything else that can't be reliably streamed from Netflix, Prime, Hulu, etc. But I have to pay for all of it to get the sports. ):

  • 1-5 channels $80
    6-10 channels $90
    11-15 channels $100
    16-20 channels $120
    21+ channels $150

    The average bill goes up, people get less variety, and everyone is happy that we're not paying for stuff we rarely watch.

  • So be it... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bartles ( 1198017 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @11:20PM (#46946099)

    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.'

    Then cable will die.

    When a company decides it is better to not provide value to it's customers, and there is now a plethora of other options, they will soon find themselves without customers.

  • 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).

    • If HBO made HBO GO available as a separate service I'd probably get it just for Game of Thrones.

      I wouldn't. 5 episodes into season 4, and every single one is boring the hell out of me. GoT may have jumped the shark.

      And if you have any patience at all, you can eventually rent the DVDs from Netflix for a few cents.

  • Oh yeah? (Score:5, Funny)

    by RevWaldo ( 1186281 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @11:28PM (#46946165)
    Well, there's like a bajillion web sites, and I only visit about ten on a regular basis! Who's wasting bandwidth now? Checkmate, new media!

  • I'd be willing to bet that at least half of what people watch is available over the air. It used to be that content from Discover's channels was worth paying for but now they have nothing but crappy reality shows. I cut the cord a long time ago. I'd rather spend the money on trips to the beach.
  • the only reason to have cable today, and the cable companies know it. This is why they are focused on content lock-in on live sports. This is why some major networks to only allow online streaming to verified cable TV subscribers. This is why my $125 MLB TV subscription will not allow me to watch local games online.

    The only hope is that enough people cut the cord so that cable companies cannot afford to buy up all the content any more. Then the content creators realize they don't need cable and can
  • That's why I cut the cord 5 years ago (cable was free from previous employer, when I had to pay for it, cut the cord. When we moved to HD in 2011, got myself an HVR-1600, built an external antenna, reinstalled BeyondTV and never looked back).

    I get all Montreal channels, and PBS Mountain Lake (14 channels so far). No luck for Vermont channels, Mount Royal is blocking LOS to Mt Mansfield. I thought I would miss some shows, but on some days I would need 3 tuners in the HTPC to be able to record everything. I w

  • In 1996, my rural cable system sent us a big mailer: GOOD NEWS, WE'RE ADDING SIX CHANNELS!

    As it turned out, there were three religious networks and three new shopping channels. I sent them a letter (they were not an ISP back then) suggesting they combine all that crap into one channel, call it The Jeezus Shopping Network, and that would free up the other five analog channels for stuff I actually wanted to watch.

    Never heard back from them.

  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @12:29AM (#46946493)
    Went to pay my Uverse bill friday, it had jumped 50% (from 117 to 179). Went through the series I record, found 11 channels I actually care about.
    Called Uverse Monday, was on hold 40 minutes and they disconnected me.
    Called again Tues, was on hold 40 minutes and they disconnected me.
    Called again this morning, ended up agreeing to fewer channels, no HD, no Showtime, for the same damned price I'd been paying the last 4 years.
    I'm thinking I'll spend tomorrow researching laws (I live in California) to see if that verbal contract is valid, and what my options are.
  • My understanding is ESPN adds $2/mo to my cable bill. I never watch ESPN. When do I get the option to say "No thanks, I'd prefer $2/mon over watching steroid injected dudes do stuff I don't care about" ?
  • Nothing to Watch. Move Along.
  • First, when this guys talk about x americans, they are extrapolating from a few families they are studying. My family was a couple of decades ago a study "family". All of the families chosen where from friends of friends, which meant the majority would be of a certain background and economic group. Besides, we often left the TV on or inputed that a certain member of the family was watching when none was, just to look good in the stats and continue to be part of the program. We werent the only ones.
  • I don't know how the channels are over in the States but in the UK, there are an awful lot of +1 and even +2 (timeshifted channels) - are they classifying these as individual channels? I'd say nearly every channel has one of these ... you could cut the channel list by 40% if they had counted these.
  • Next time they do the survey, I volunteer to be part of the baseline sample.

    Channels subscribed: 0

    Channels watched: 0

    Channels worth watching: 0

  • HBO gets $x per month for every subscriber who subscribes to it via cable/satellite/etc.

    If HBO offered an a-la-carte offering (basically the current HBO go streaming offering but available to anyone and not just those who subscribe to HBO) and charged $y for it (where $y is higher than $x) they could make MORE money than they do right now. Anyone who switched from HBO-via-cable to HBO-a-la-carte would be an increase in revenue. As would anyone who doesn't currently get HBO but who takes up the a-la-carte of

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @08:31AM (#46948039) Homepage

    Honestly if they did shows "ala-carte" things would be different. I would GLADLY pay for TV shows I like Fox cancels Almost Human and replaces it with another cop show that has a lower average IQ rating so it will work better for the typical FOX viewer.

    IF shows were Ala-Carte I could give my money directly to the show creators. Betting Firefly would be brought back to life in a heartbeat if FOX did not want to let that IP rot and Die.

    • by Megane ( 129182 )

      Fox cancels Almost Human

      Fox also canceled Alien Nation, so I'm hardly surprised. Over two decades later, and Fox is still cancelling SF shows.

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @11:19AM (#46949547) Journal

    I would think that the average would be lower, especially in this economy. The "network" channels plus a few of the basic cable channels. Maybe eight or nine total for the most part, with very rare ventures into maybe two or three more. Do people really sign up for "pay" channels anymore?

    I think that if people could really buy ala carte instead of having to buy nearly 200 channels or nothing, the numbers might be different.

    We dumped cable during dot com bust (I was out of work at the time) and went to Netflix. You can't imagine what reducing your TV budget from $120 a month to $6 a month does to your budget. We also invested in this think called an Antenna, which was surprisingly cheap. Our homeowner's association did not allow antennas (thereby handing a monopoly to a local really terrible cable company) but the communications act of 1996 invalidated that.

    We had cable again for a short time in 2006 to try out the latest crop of DVRs, and they stink. Sluggish response and not enough disk space. (I think I calculated once that DVR disk space costs 12 times as much as the same space purchased at Best Buy.) Dumped all of that at the beginning of the current recession, got a roku instead. (A one time cost that was less than one month in cable TV fees.) Wife and child watch shows a year or so out of date, but they have gotten used to it, and they can binge watch. (Which isn't necessarily a good thing....)

    I need internet as I work from home, but fortunately fiber is available in my area, so I don't have to deal with comcrap. Now we have two Rokus, one upstairs and one downstairs, wife has a Hulu account and daughter has her own Netflix account, and all I'm paying for is the network.

    The cable TV model is obsolete for several reasons -- real time vs demand, package vs ala carte, and unreasonable cost. But I think it will take an older generation (what I call the "tv tray generation") dying out before the cable companies finally go under. But it's inevitable.

    Me? I really don't have much time for TV. Fridays is "pizza and movie night", and we take turns picking the movie, but other than that and The Big Bang Theory, I'm largely ignorant of what's on the tube. And -- a little insight -- you'd be astonished at how much productive time that frees up.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972