January 6th, 2010

An Alternative to Big Cable?

TV À La Carte: Pick Your Own Programming

Are you happy with your cable provider?

Did you know that the average American spends almost five hours per day in front of the TV? The average household is paying $115.27 per month in cable bills. However, they tune into only 16 of the 118 channels available. We don’t pick our channels—the cable providers do. Backroom politics determine whether a channel is part of the basic or premier cable package. If you want ESPN, then you’ll also get a full dose of Spike, ABC Family, Lifetime and fifty other channels that may or may not appeal to you.

comcast-properties.jpgAnd it is about to get worse as Comcast acquired a majority stake in NBC Universal. If approved, Comcast would take control of one out of every 5 hours of programming and 7 out of the 20 top cable channels. The Comcast acquisition of Versus channel earlier this year reveals a strategy whereby they force their competitor (e.g. DirecTV) into a no-win situation: either pay the surprise rate hike to Comcast or deprive their viewers of content (e.g., Versus no longer available on satellite). If you thought Comcast had a monopoly on your block, just wait for next year. Bundling programming robs the cable industry of price transparency and old fashion competition.

There must be a better option. So let me raise my snifter and propose an alternative: TV À La Carte.

I look forward to the day where I can subscribe to ESPN ($4.43), AMC ($0.23) and Comedy Central ($0.15). Curious about the average monthly wholesale rate for your favorite channels? Reveal the prices and take this quick poll.

TV À La Carte is not a corporation. TV À La Carte is a consumer movement to restore competition and transparency to the cable industry. Recent conversations suggest that just 1,000 folks in a neighborhood joining together could be enough to launch this movement. Will you become part of the solution? Surf to TVÀLaCarte.org to find out more about the movement.

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