For decades, cable television dominated the home-entertainment scene, with a wide variety of video content you couldn’t get anywhere else. Now, though, the rise of Internet-based entertainment options has led millions to cut the cord, putting cable TV increasingly under pressure to justify its high costs.
In order for cable to remain relevant, it has to offer consumers the ability to buy channels on an a la carte basis. Even if the pay television providers still make bundles the most attractive, they need to give subscribers the ability to pick and choose exactly which channels they want. That will almost certainly cost more on a per-channel basis, but it’s a customer-friendly move that could begin to change consumer perception.
This move would not come without major consequences. If you stop forcing consumers to buy channels in bundles, then some networks won’t have enough subscribers to remain viable. That sounds awful, and it’s a move that companies including Comcast which owns a number of cable channels, have resisted.
But the market is going that way anyway. Netflix and HBO’s video on demand services are essentially an opportunity for customers to pick those products on an a la carte basis. Those services (and several others) make cord-cutting attractive, but the cord-cutters may still be sacrificing content they enjoy.
True a la carte cable would fix that. It may not produce the same revenue that the current system does, but it would keep would-be cord-cutters at least partially in the fold. Imagine the family that may have left cable behind staying with a package of family-oriented channels to keep the kids happy or the parents opting for some favorite sports and entertainment choices.
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