Monday, October 22, 2012

What If TV Goes the Way of Music and Newspapers?

Do you love television but hate your cable company? Then you'll be thrilled to hear this bit of news.
Les Moonves, the chief executive at CBS, said in an interview that if the cord-cutting revolution takes off, he is prepared to distribute TV directly to viewers through apps. "If the universe changes and they [viewers] want us to bring the content directly to them, then we can," he said. 
This is music to the ears of those who've been predicting that the End of Cable will be as inevitable and consumer friendly as the webification of newspapers and the iTunes-ification of music. It sounds like the best of both worlds. In an on-demand world, you get the TV you love, and only the TV you love, without those hundreds of pointless channels you don't, and save all this money in the process! That's the dream, at least. 
Here's the reality. If the cable bundle dissolves, buying the TV you love on-demand would probably be either much more expensive that you'd think ... or much lower quality than you'd accept. 
Let's say for example that you just want to watch ESPN and otherwise be left alone. Right now, you pay $80 to cable every month, which passes along $5 to ESPN (per its agreement with its media company, Disney). So ESPN alone would cost $5 a month, right? That's not so bad. 
But wait. Remember, ESPN isn't just getting $5 from every household that wants to watch it. It's also getting $5 per from the millions of TV-watching households who don't care for sports and just happen to have ESPN because they have cable. In our post-cable future, you might have to pay $10 a month to make up for all the households who choose to stop subsidizing your SportsCenter habit.

No comments:

Post a Comment