What's your stance on A La Carte Cable?

acedickson

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 6, 2004
727
0
ATL
I went back to about a year ago when the idea of A La Carte Cable was a hot topic. I'm interested in seeing what other MR faithfuk think about the idea of being able to choose the channels you want. Not paying for mass tiers of channels in order to get a few channels you want. Canada already has some cable providers offering A La Carte Cable.

Personally, I'm 100% for it. I don't like paying $80 a month in order to get the 25-50 channels I watch religiously. I like the idea of being able to subscribe to basic cable at $20/mo and then pay, say, $.50 per A La Carte channel.

What's your stance on it?

Plenty of links
 

strider42

macrumors 65816
Feb 1, 2002
1,460
6
it sounds like a good idea, but I worry about smaller networks being squeezed out. Right now, some networks are basically subsidized by being in packages. Get rid of the package, subscriber numbers for it fall, and then its viability is in questions and ability to put on good shows may be hampered. The free market is good, but there's something to be said for speciality channels people might not buy if it was offered a la carte. The increase in competition might put some out of business quickly.

The other thing is, sometimes I find really good stuff on random channels I might not necessarily subscribe to if I was just given a choice when I initially signed up. I might miss out on a lot. Just browsing around the random channels can bring up some things worth watching.

That said, I really want to have access to the few premium channels I want without having to get a bunch of extras. Right now, to get HBO, I'd need to upgrade to digital cable, then the hbo package, for a much larger price then I'm paying now.

So I think for the system to work, you sitll have to allow companies to bundle stuff together, and offer discounts for those channels. A la carte should be more expensive per channel, but allow you to perhaps make it cheaper overall or just add on the 1 or two extra channels you'd otherwise have to pay a lot more for.
 

neildmitchell

macrumors 6502a
May 21, 2005
564
0
I would love A La Catre Cable.
I dont watch a lot of TV, but I do like having certain channels that I can not recieve through basic cable. I would love to get only the local channels, plus IFC, Showtime, Food Network, TLC, Discovery, and BBC.

I could do without a LOT of the channels that I do get that I NEVER watch.

Cable is a rip off :mad:
 

dejo

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 2, 2004
15,725
447
The Centennial State
I would love to be able to pick and choose my channels. But unless you can convince the cable companies that there's more money in it, it ain't gonna happen.
 

homerjward

macrumors 68030
May 11, 2004
2,745
0
fig tree
ah, ace dickson i see you're also in SA. im guessing you have time warner digital cable if you're paying $80 a month for cable? my parents pay TW $40 a month for basic cable (~80 channels) but all the channels i want are on the next step up which is something like $60 a month. im the principle tv watcher at my house :D so it'd be nice for them to pay the same $40 to get all the good channels with none of the bs :p
oh, and where the first part comes in: how do you find the quality of the local channels, specifically nbc, cbs, etc.? they're *CRAPPY* to say the least on my basic cable package. and also, how do they handle multiple tv's? i heard something about $5 or 10 extra a month per extra tv :eek: is that true? i thought that was one big advantage of cable over satellite--not having to pay extra for multiple tv's :confused:

edit: btw if you live in San Angelo disregard half my post...:rolleyes:
 

ftaok

macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
6,146
1,165
East Coast
acedickson said:
Personally, I'm 100% for it. I don't like paying $80 a month in order to get the 25-50 channels I watch religiously. I like the idea of being able to subscribe to basic cable at $20/mo and then pay, say, $.50 per A La Carte channel.

What's your stance on it?

Plenty of links
Ace,

Call me a cynic, but I think you're dreaming if you think you'll pay less with a la carte. They'll just figure out a way to charge you $80/month for the 25 channels that you'd get instead of the 200+ channels of crap.

But that's just me.
 

FelixDerKater

macrumors 68030
Apr 12, 2002
2,825
953
Nirgendwo in Amerika
I don't look for this to be possible any time in the near future. However, if it did happen to come true, I would be behind it. I usually end up watching about 5-10 channels out of the 70+ I am paying for.
 

Le Big Mac

macrumors 68030
Jan 7, 2003
2,587
166
Washington, DC
dejo said:
I would love to be able to pick and choose my channels. But unless you can convince the cable companies that there's more money in it, it ain't gonna happen.
In principle it would be great, but I just don't think that if it happens you'll end up saving money. Right now, everybody subsidizes everyone else. The 5 channels you want are subsidized by a bunch of people who don't watch them, and same for the 5 channels they watch. What will happen is that the number of subscribers for each channel will go way down, so the fees will go up, and those will be passed along (easy example--my mom never watches ESPN; take out a bunch of moms like her, and ESPN will have to charge more for each subscriber).

So, it might be good--if you like channels everyone else likes, but it might be bad, if it's a channel people don't want. Sure, there's a "free market" feel to it. But, do you really want to have to go through the list when you subscribe, and then update that list every so often, to make sure you're getting the channels you want? Seems like the tiers is a reasonable compromise.
 

Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,889
25
Northern Virginia
For me I would love it. I have ultra basic cable on Cox with my cable modem. I generally only watch NBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, BRAVO, and SPIKE. I would love to have the Comedy Channel and TV Land. I would be will to pay $1.50 a month for each of these two.
 

efoto

macrumors 68030
Nov 16, 2004
2,627
0
Cloud 9 (-6)
I think the principle is great however in application it will be altered to churn profit and make the entire thing worthless and people will default back to the normal payments for the crap they don't need.

Personally, until I am rich(er) than current I can not see getting more than basic (70 channel) cable because the cost increase to digital is just too step for what I would be getting, not to mention wanting to add HD content and then the need for a HD compatible TV/monitor. It all adds up to cost simply too much.
 

CorvusCamenarum

macrumors 65816
Dec 16, 2004
1,231
1
Birmingham, AL
This is one of the reasons I cancelled my cable service a few months back. Aside from cable internet, I don't really miss it. We have Comcast here, and around January (I think) they decided to rearrange all their channels. The regular broadcast channels are in the lower numbers and the first pricing tier, all the least popular channels are in the medium numbers and second tier, and the more popular channels are in the higher numbers and third tier. The end result being that if you want channels like Comedy Central and Spike and whatnot, you have to buy Home & Garden and Lifetime and the Golf Channel and quite a few other things I could care less about. It seems to me like an easy way for them to force more revenue for themselves. Aside from cable internet (for which Comcast charges around $55 a month), it's just not worth it to me, the fact that my girlfriend has satellite television notwithstanding.
 

wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
12,106
73
Solon, OH
I support the idea of A La Carte Cable because it would make cable bills easy to verify yourself and give customers more freedom to get exactly what they want. Here's an example (using completely made-up numbers):

Base Per-Channel Fee: $1 per day
Multipliers:
-Basic Channels: base x 1
-Extended Channels: base x 1.5
-Movie Channels: base x 2
-Sports Channels: base x 3
-Adults Only Channels: base x 5

Your Channels:
Basic: 40
Extended: 10
Movie: 5
Sports: 2
Adults Only: 0

Days of Usage: 60

Total Fee:
=(40 x 1 x 1 + 10 x 1 x 1.5 + 5 x 1 x 2 + 2 x 1 x 3 + 0 x 1 x 5) x 60
=(40 + 15 + 10 + 6 + 0) x 60
=71 x 60
=4260
 

camomac

macrumors 6502a
Jan 26, 2005
768
170
Left Coast
i would definately be all for this idea.

as it is now i have:
channels 2-13, mostly local, WGN, and discovery (get)
channels 14-33 CRAP, infomercial, the jesus channel, languages i don't speak channel... (get)
channels 34-69, these are all the decent channels, TBS, TNT, Comedy Central, VH1, Spike, CN...(don't get)
channels 70-71, E!, AMC (get)

i would like to trade the CRAP for what i don't get, and pay about the same or a little more.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,641
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
acedickson said:
Personally, I'm 100% for it. I don't like paying $80 a month in order to get the 25-50 channels I watch religiously. I like the idea of being able to subscribe to basic cable at $20/mo and then pay, say, $.50 per A La Carte channel.
I like it too, in principle...the problem is the pricing scheme. Being realistic, why would cable companies offer this unless one or more of the following came true?

1) Substantial increase in users...possible, but doubtful considering the saturation of cable / satellite, and the lack of a value equation *for satellite users to switch back*.

2) Average monthly revenue per user equal to or larger than current....this also seems highly unlikely. Suppose your cable company has 100 channels and charges $50/mo. There is no way that they are going to make these channels available at anywhere near $0.50 each, because there are only 100 channels to begin with (100x$0.50 = $50), and they would at most break even on per-customer revenue, and I don't see that they'd save a lot in operating or licensing costs to offset this. By the time they tweak the per channel cost up to the point where they will continue to break even, I don't think you'll be interested anymore.

The only way I see out would be if they had a technology that allowed them to offer far more channels than they do now, as à la carte options, so that there would be a decent number of heavy users who would pay more than they pay now (for enhanced service vis-à-vis their current service level). :(
 

wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
12,106
73
Solon, OH
Adelphia (my cable provider) has nearly 500 channels. 50 of those are audio-only channels, and another 50 are pay-per-view channels...so that leaves us with nearly 400 eligible for a la carte.