Will the Next Broadcast/Cable System Negotiations Result in A La Carte Packaging?
Originally published: September 15, 2011
Last updated: September 15, 2011 - 9:00pm
Cable television has been an extraordinary industry. From modest, rural roots planted in the late 1940s and 1950s, this business has grown consistently over most of those years, with multichannel video program distributors in the U.S. generating tens of billions of dollars in revenue and profits each year. They are one of the few media-related businesses to generate revenue from both advertisers and users.
But, is the cable TV subscription -- or satellite or teleco TV subscription -- business ready to break? Most think it can't keep growing unchecked. Will Internet-driven Web video bypass and kill cable? Will connected, smart TVs do it? Many think it might. Will a double-dip recession cut into viewers' ability to pay those growing monthly bills? Will Netflix (or a similar player) break its back? Some think so. Another possibility that might break the stranglehold these companies have over studio-produced TV shows and networks is the potential of viewers able to purchase a la carte subscriptions to their favorite TV networks and stop paying for the hundreds of channels they get but never watch. For example, they could pay a fee only for a CBS, HBO, ESPN and Turner Networks custom package, which would be significantly less than what they're paying today.
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