September 28, 2011
The Times They Are a-Changin'! After years of demanding that programmers bundle their networks, cable operators could soon do an about-face. According to Reuters, falling revenues are the reason behind a plan to (finally) begin offering “a la carte” programming. Could this eventually mean similar plans being offered for iPad owners? Cable and satellite subscribers know the drill. Even though you might not like sports programming, for example, you are forced to pay for it to get another channels that you like. The end result is paying more overall for channels you probably will never use. Currently, Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable, among other operators, are trying to find a way “to lower escalating programming costs, which have risen between 6 and 10 percent each year during the last decade.” One of these ways could be the introduction of “a la carte” programming for the first time. According to Jerry Kent, chief executive of Suddenlink:
"We feel that some of those expensive channels should be offered a la carte so only those people who want to watch them actually pay for them.”We couldn’t agree more. In fact, we hope this move will eventually carry over to operators and/or programmers being about to offer similar “a la carte” programming on the iPad and other mobile devices. As it stands now, the only way to fully utilize most channel apps is by being a cable/satellite subscriber. But, not just any subscriber. For example, CNN and TBS recently updated and released, respectively, iPad apps that stream content. Unfortunately, to do so you must be a subscriber to one of only a handful of providers. However, we envision a day coming when iPad owners can download one or more apps and then pay for the programming they want, without first having a cable/satellite subscription. Naturally, for this to work, the same folks that have created the now-archaic form of bundling must work together to implement such a system. Yet, we think it could work. For example, sports fans may really love ESPN, but no longer see the need to subscribe to hundreds of other channels just to get it. Imagine being able to pay a cable provider and/or ESPN a monthly fee to stream the many ESPN channels on the iPad or through a web browser? Very cool, don’t you think? Lets hope these “a la carte” discussions lead to real changes in how consumers get their entertainment. What do you think? Let us know by using the comments below.
TBS for iPad
CNN App for iPad
CNN Interactive Group, Inc.