Saturday, July 31, 2004

507 Channels and Nothing On

Here's a simple question...why can't we just buy the cable channels we want to watch instead of buying 50 channels for the one we want? Why do I have to have the Golf Channel if I want the Scifi Channel? Couldn't I just buy the Scifi Channel and HBO for a dollar a channel and leave it at that instead of scrolling through a hundred channels I never watch to get to them?
As with everything involving profit, it's a simple problem with a simple solution with massive opposition to the solution. The truth is that the cable companies known darn well that 99% of their audience will not buy lame channels like the Grass-Growing Channel unless it's forced upon them, so they use popular channels like ESPN to subsidize them. People like the women's channel Oxygen defend the system as a way of building an audience. Personally, I think if your channel couldn't survive without that system, then there's no point in airing it. Just because you make a channel doesn't mean we have to watch it. Read about the current hearings on the issue going on at the FCC and then send a nasty email to your cable company.


Mauricem said...

Dang it, this is just one more example of what's wrong with a monopoly. On our cable remote is a "Favorites" button which allows you to program a list of your favorite channels. You hit the button and it sends you to the next channel on your list. I usually just scroll through my list and if there's nothing on them I just turn the TV off. Since it's such a small list, I can't imagine how much I'd save if I only had to pay for those.
On the other hand, I imagine the savings are substantial as opposed to the amount they'd have to charge if I paid individually. I'd like to see a cost comparison before I made up my mind.

Mauricem said...

Dear Nigel,
This is an enlightening story. It's sad how greedy some companies are. Choice is the most valuable thing you can give a consumer. Give them choice, save them money: that's a solid business model.
Bill Gates

Monkey Migraine said...