Last updated: September 23, 2010 - 8:46am
Barry Diller minted a new phrase on Tuesday when he told a Goldman Sachs media conference in New York that "the à la carteing of life has become possible for the first time".
The IAC chairman was referring to the sudden explosion of options in the US for picking and choosing from the traditional prix-fixe cable or satellite menu. The death of the monthly pay-TV subscription, which offered a smorgasbord ranging from American Idol and Jersey Shore to niche skateboarding shows, has often been foretold. Such predictions have always been premature, to put it politely. So what has changed? The steady expansion of broadband access is one thing, but this summer has also seen a flurry of significant announcements including Google TV's launch plan, Netflix's five-year digital streaming deal with three Hollywood studios, and the new $99 Apple TV device whose 99 cent-per-show pricing was quickly matched by Amazon. These new options for "over-the-top" Internet-delivered video represent a sufficiently heightened risk to traditional pay-TV platforms for Credit Suisse to have downgraded the US entertainment industry last week.