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Thread: FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

  1. #1
    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

    I like the sound of this. I can think of quite a list of channels I wish I didn't have to pay for.

    http://money.cnn.com/2005/11/29/tech....reut/?cnn=yes

    Picking the cable channel you want
    Report: FCC is expected to back 'a la carte' pricing in the industry, instead of bundled channels.

    November 29, 2005: 5:59 AM EST

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Federal Communications Commission is expected to suggest that cable companies could best serve their customers by allowing them to subscribe to individual channels instead of packages of several stations, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

    The newspaper said that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is expected to announce Tuesday that the commission will soon revise the conclusion it reached in the report it issued last year on "a la carte" pricing in the cable industry.

    Citing an FCC official familiar with the revised report, the Journal said the report will conclude that buying individual channels could be cheaper for consumers than bundles and that themed tiers of channels could be economically feasible.


    Last year's FCC report on the subject found that most U.S. households would face higher television bills if they only paid for the channels they wanted to watch.

    The commission said then that increased costs for marketing and
    equipment would force up monthly bills by 14 percent to 30 percent for most cable or satellite TV customers even if they only paid for a handful of stations.

    Customer advocates have said a pay-per-channel approach would keep cost increases in check by making programmers and providers more accountable to viewers.

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  3. #2
    Resident optimist OldRightHander's Avatar
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    Re: FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

    Two years ago I sent a letter to Time Warner proposing the same thing and I didn't even get a response. If I could just get what I want, I'd probably only have about 20 channels.

  4. #3
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

    The cable industry has a point though. Think of all the possible combinations the customers could pick if they can mix and match 200 channels. That's going to add cost.

    Let's face it, if the average customer pays $X for their package, don't you think the customized package is also going to average out to $X? The cable companies aren't going to take a revenue hit.

    What's going to happen is that the popular stations will get priced very high, while the less popular stations will get discontinued. (Do you think the cable company will bother to carry the low revenue choices? probably not) I'm not sure that's the best thing for the consumer.
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    Resident optimist OldRightHander's Avatar
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    Re: FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

    Quote Originally Posted by REDREAD
    What's going to happen is that the popular stations will get priced very high, while the less popular stations will get discontinued. (Do you think the cable company will bother to carry the low revenue choices? probably not) I'm not sure that's the best thing for the consumer.
    I never thought about that. A lot of the channels I like are quite possibly some of the less popular ones. If you could let me have all the sports channels and all of the History Channels, I would be content.

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    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

    I don't think the problem is so much choice of channels, it's choice of providers. If they allowed meaningful competition in local markets, like they do phone service, you might see more flexibility in buying cable channels. I get the feeling if they allow people to buy channels separately without meaningful competition, you'll see people having to pay as much just to get ESPN as some people now pay for their entire basic cable service.

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    smells of rich mahogany deltachi8's Avatar
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    Re: FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

    Hmm, so what channels would you pay for that you currently have?
    Nothing to see here. Please disperse.

  8. #7
    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

    Quote Originally Posted by REDREAD
    What's going to happen is that the popular stations will get priced very high, while the less popular stations will get discontinued. (Do you think the cable company will bother to carry the low revenue choices? probably not) I'm not sure that's the best thing for the consumer.
    Yup.

    If the cable company makes an average of $50 (for example) on a subscriber's basic package, under the new "a la carte" system, they'll just rig the numbers to ensure that a list of the most frequently selected channels adds up to the same price, so they don't lose any revenue.

    So, yeah...it might seem like a great idea to be able to pay ONLY for (say) ESPN, ESPN2, Comedy Central, TNT, USA, FX, TBS, Spike TV, Cartoon Network and Sci Fi -- but if that turns out to be what everyone does, those channels are just gonna cost a fortune individually.
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    The rest is drama. marcshoe's Avatar
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    Re: FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

    This sounds like a good idea, but I worry that this will lead to more homogenization. Channels will need to reach a larger audience to stay solvent, and, as has happened with broadcast TV and (especially) radio, everything will start to look the same.

    Too often catering to the largest possible segment of society leads to mediocrity.

  10. #9
    smells of rich mahogany deltachi8's Avatar
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    Re: FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

    For me:

    TBS, TNT, ESPN, ESPN2, MSG, A news channel, Bravo, Nick, Cartoon, Comedy Central, YES, Food Network, hmmm, that maybe it. Maybe AMC.

    I think those who have said it wont save any money are probably right, but who knows with the digital addressable boxes, it may be more economically feasible than in the past.
    Nothing to see here. Please disperse.

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    Member TeamCasey's Avatar
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    Re: FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

    It would kill public broadcasting.
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    Resident optimist OldRightHander's Avatar
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    Re: FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

    I would get all of the ESPN channels, The History Channel, History International, Military Channel, (some nice historical documentary things on there) Discovery, TLC, FSC, Fox News and CNN, and the local channels. My wife would then add HGTV, Lifetime, Discovery Health, and Court TV.

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    CELEBRATION TIME RBA's Avatar
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    Re: FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

    Quote Originally Posted by deltachi8
    For me:

    TBS, TNT, ESPN, ESPN2, MSG, A news channel, Bravo, Nick, Cartoon, Comedy Central, YES, Food Network, hmmm, that maybe it. Maybe AMC.

    I think those who have said it wont save any money are probably right, but who knows with the digital addressable boxes, it may be more economically feasible than in the past.
    You probably won't save much if any on those channels. ESPN, Turner charge premiums for their channels. They also make the cable and satellite companies put it on their basic tier services. If they become ALA Carte, no savings for you, most likely, you'll be paying more.

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    smells of rich mahogany deltachi8's Avatar
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    Re: FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

    The things that hurts is the only thing I want ESPN for is the games coverage of NFL, NCAA and MLB. The rest they can keep.
    Nothing to see here. Please disperse.

  15. #14
    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

    Quote Originally Posted by TeamCasey
    It would kill public broadcasting.
    Maybe not. PBS is a broadcaster and broadcasters are covered by must-carry regulations. That means as the law is currently written, cable companies can't deliberately exclude their signals from going into subscribers' homes. I haven't heard if this a-la-carte rule would apply to broadcasters, but I am certain the FCC couldn't eliminate must-carry without broadcasters making a huge fuss.

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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: FCC Considers Letting Us Pay for Only the Cable Channels We Want

    Quote Originally Posted by OldRightHander
    Two years ago I sent a letter to Time Warner proposing the same thing and I didn't even get a response. If I could just get what I want, I'd probably only have about 20 channels.
    And that is why they don't do it. 30 cooking, shopping, and home decorating channels would die!
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