Cut the Cord, Drop the Dish

WSJ has a good writeup on the new internet TV options coming quickly down the pike, but it perhaps unwittingly shows why Big Cable just doesn’t get it:

In the span of a few months, tectonic shifts are remaking a television landscape it took decades to sculpt, opening up a range of other possibilities for “cord cutters” who don’t want traditional pay TV. Apple is working on an Internet-TV service with some 25 channels, which is expected to be priced between $25 to $35 a month, according to people familiar with its plans. It will join Dish Network Corp. and Sony Corp., which are pitching their own online-TV bundles. A host of TV companies, including HBO, NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon’s Noggin and CBS, are in the mix with stand-alone streaming offerings.

But if consumers drop pay TV and sign up for TV services delivered over broadband, will they really get a better deal?

“If you buy retail and you have six or seven of these things, that might cost you as much as a bundle that gives you 400 different networks,” said Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom, which earns money from bundled channels but also recently launched a subscription streaming service aimed at preschool children that it imagines will be complementary to the bundle.


Dauman is clueless.

Consumers aren’t spending $90 a month to get “400 different networks.” We’re paying $90 a month for the 20 or 30 networks we actually watch*, along with the other 350 or so which hardly anyone watches — but which everyone is forced to pay for anyway.

Unbundling allows consumers to pay for what we want, whether that comes down to $25 a month for a few channels, or goes up to $100 a month for a lot more channels. Then there’s the added benefit of eliminating all that clutter, all those hundreds of channels of absolute crap we have to wade through on our DVRs.

Windows PC makers typically load up their consumer machines with “crapware,” those unwanted and unloved apps which developers pay a few cents to force onto your computer. And good luck getting rid of it short of a clean reinstall from a disc not provided by the OEM. All those channels Dauman thinks we want are really just the cable version of crapware.

*I’m not sure I watch as many as five, if you take away the news networks and C-SPAN.


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