Reconsidering Cable

Posted by Andrew Groves | Posted in | Posted on Monday, October 15, 2007

Don't we all love the Home and Garden channel? Its stimulating and provocative programming keeps viewers like us captivated, thirsting for more. While statements like this may be true for some people, they are not true for the majority of you reading this post. So, if we don't enjoy watching the Home and Garden channel, why do we pay for it in our cable bills? One word: bundling.

You see, bundling is very simple: cable providers refuse to give you ESPN, for example, unless you also subscribe to Disney. But what if I don't want the Disney channel? It doesn't matter because Disney owns ESPN and wants you (the naïve consumer) to subscribe to all of their channels or none of their channels. Frustrating, isn't it? The reason our cable bills are so high is due to the number of channels in our cable plans. But we are not given a choice of the channels comprising our bundle; we're just given a basic cable bundle and sent on our way.

Why am I making such a fuss over this? Let me illustrate. Imagine that a nice young boy from down the street is selling magazine subscriptions to raise money for a class field trip. "Oh, how precious," you think to yourself. "Maybe I'll just renew my subscription to National Geographic, and he'll be on his way." However, when you tell Billy that all you want is National Geographic, he informs you that in order to get National Geographic, you have to pay for four other magazine subscriptions. "But I'm not interested in these other four magazines! All I want is National Geographic." Well, that's too bad because (in this fictional account) a megacompany owns all of these magazines and only offers this set of five magazines bundled together.

You see, cable is a visual form of magazine subscriptions. They have employed a system known as "narrow-casting" to appeal to specific viewers, as opposed to "broad-casting" that appeals to a mass audience. In other words, an outdoorsman would want the Outdoorsman's channel, and a chef would want the Food Network. Cable channels focus on narrow subjects, and should be available in whatever combination a consumer desires. If you want to read more about this, I invite you to visit the following website. It might just open your eyes to some new possibilities with cable: how you should be able to customize channels and keep cash in your wallet.

Comments Posted (3)

  1. Well, I guess this wasn't very interesting to most of you... oh, well.

  2. Well at the moment I don't pay for my own cable so I don't worry about it. Maybe I will once I do. By the way did you see today's episode of Numb3rs?

  3. No, the only show that I have the time to watch consistently anymore is The Office. Why?... was it good?