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A LaCarte Programming

Discussion in 'General DISH™ Discussion' started by Kendick, Feb 10, 2006.

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  1. Mike D-CO5

    Mike D-CO5 Hall Of Fame

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  2. motorcycle_rider

    motorcycle_rider Cool Member

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    Actually I have tossed around the idea of going to C-band. For FTA and subscriptions but then I look at LOS issues. I would hate to invest into something like that then not be able to see the sat I wanted to.
     
  3. IowaStateFan

    IowaStateFan Godfather

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    I thought you'd been reading my posts. I am a sports fan. I want sports. Sports is about the only thing I'm watching lately. I think they should be separate. I am paying for AT120 mostly for the sports content not included in AT60. And I'll be consistent here. I won't ask you to subsidize my sports programming if you'll let me quit subsidizing your MTV (or whatever it is you watch that I don't). If my bill goes up then I guess I lose, but I'm willing to take that chance.

    Here you and I completely agree. Change will happen, whether we like it or not. In 11 years, a la carte may have come, only to be replaced by some new technology or marketing system that makes it obsolete. It may not happen, either. But we can be sure that we won't be watching tv the same way we do now. It will be different, not necessarily better or worse, just different.

    Edited to change quote from Greg Bimson to Mike D-CO5
     
  4. IowaStateFan

    IowaStateFan Godfather

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    I disagree. I think people chose packages initially because that's all that was offered. The old analog cable systems couldn't easily offer a la carte, and there weren't that many channels 20 yrs ago. They didn't even have tiers at first. So the system became entrenched. While I agree with you that most consumers will take packages, I think they can coexist with a la carte. Technologically there is very little cost to the satellite provider to offer a la carte. The only downside for E* is if too many people choose a la carte. That could cut revenues. But I think there is a new market to tap by offering a la carte. There are plenty of people out there that don't subscribe to pay tv because of the cost. I suspect they could be lured in, if they could buy just one or two channels. Also, some people will switch from cable if E* were the first to offer a la carte. In the end, a la carte will be a niche market, but a valuable one to those that offer it.
     
  5. Chris Freeland

    Chris Freeland Hall Of Fame

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    I too believe that "a la carte" could exist side buy side with packages. I do believe however that we get a better value with the packages but I do not have a problem with the program service providers offering "a la carte" as an option. I do think however that the government would have to force the issue in order for "a la carte" to become a reality and I am not sure that I am in favor of that, the government is already too involved in are daily lives as it is now.
     
  6. WHNB

    WHNB Mentor

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    A study done for Disney, owner of ESPN, states that under an a la carte system, ESPN would have to charge $20 a month to survive. A Consumers Union spokesman counters that ESPN is only forty cents a month in France, where a la carte has existed for awhile, and he does not believe that the sports programmer's rates would rise to $20/month in the U.S.

    The full article:
    http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/technology/2006-03-15-cable-a-la-carte_x.htm
     
  7. Paul Secic

    Paul Secic Hall Of Fame

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    I would think all current packages would continue for those who want them, I would hope!
     
  8. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Think about your local fast food places for a moment.

    You have a la carte there (fries, burgers, drink) and you have packages ("value meals").

    Yes, they coexist... but how many different choices do you have? Not many. Fast food places tend to have little selection, and the packages are different combinations and you can't get a package that has 1 of everything in it to feed your whole family.

    Then there are the "fancy" restaurants... where everything is in "package" form but you can get some things a la carte like a bowl of soup or a side salad or a vegetable. Can't get enough a la carte to make a meal, but you can add them to your package dinner.

    I believe that a la carte for every channel would not coexist with the current packages. They could have a la carte and some packages... but these would not be the same packages as today, and a lot of the current channels would be gone and unavailable via a la carte or package choice.
     
  9. jrb531

    jrb531 Icon

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    You keep saying that I passed on ala cart and selected packages which is why we have them. The example given is that a zillion years ago Dish allowed you to pick 20 channels for $20 (or something like that)

    Well "I" (and I suspect many many many others!) never got that option so how is this excuse still valid in 2006?

    Ala cart would work and work well. I could take package A and 1-2 channels ala cart instead of being forced to take package B "and" C "just" to get 1-2 channels that are only offered currently in package C.

    If I subscribe to Package A right now and I want to Science channel (only in C now) I would have to pay $20 to subscribe to B and C.... if I could pay a few $$$'s to "just" take the science channel then ala-cart works the way most people would use it.

    Offer us 20 for $20 now (or even $50!!!!) and watch how many people suddenly embrace ala-cart ROTFL!

    -JB
     
  10. IowaStateFan

    IowaStateFan Godfather

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    True enough, but I can buy 1 of each item separately. It may cost me more per item, but at least I have the choice. That's the beauty of it, you can have your package, and I can have my single item.

    Then there are the "super fancy" restaurants that serve several courses. Generally one must choose each item separately as the meat does not automatically come with a veggie. There are even restaurants (some not even fancy) that allow you to choose your entree and sides separately. The point is that each restaurant (distributor) is allowed to package its offerings in any way it chooses, in order to serve its customers. Under the current pay television system, the ability of the distributor to package its offerings is being restricted by the supplier.

    It is almost certain that many of the current channels will go away under an a la carte only system - and they should if they can't support themselves. However, I believe that packages will continue to exist. Most of us would rather spend the few extra $s on a package than go thru the effort of choosing our channels. Some cable systems will try to use packages to attract customers, others will offer customers the flexibility to choose their channels. However, the distributor that offers a la carte will have a marketing advantage over those that don't - even if most people choose packages. Many of us like the idea of flexibility. How many posts have you seen from people complaining about an 18 month commitment for a lease upgrade on their receivers because they don't want to be locked into something?
    Will a la carte save everyone big bucks? No, but I don't think it will result in huge price increases or the demise of packages either. In the end, I don't think it will really make much difference at all. It will be a niche thing, for those who want more control over their television programming and costs.
     
  11. jrb531

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    Kind of like the record companies saying that they lose XXX dollars due to downloading music but they have little way to back up their claims other than to say that they make less $$$ than they used to (due to other entertainment choices but not "just" downloads)

    How does ESPN (or anyone) know how many people would dump sports if we had the option?

    I say a ton and if ESPN would need to charge $20 a month to survive then what a perfect example of why we should be allowed to dump sports!

    In reality all that would happen is that ESPN would not offer obscene amounts to the sports teams for exclusive coverage and the prices paid would fall back in line with what they should be instead of ESPN paying darn near anything because they have the deep pockets of "forced" sports subscriptions!

    Instead of paying 100 million a year for baseball (or whatever the numbers are) then pay only 50 million (and now that $20 becomes $10)

    If ESPN thinks telling us that sports will cost $20 a month if we are allowed to drop sports (playing the boogy man card!) and this will cause people to back off I have another take on this.... now I am "more" inclined to do anything I can to stop paying for sports and ESPN's 75% crap coverage of tracker pulls and other "filler" that is aired tween main sports events.

    Pay the cry baby athletes $100,000 a year to play a game for half a year instead of 1-100 million and I suspect that tickets will drop from $50+ as well as the ole ESPN bill.

    $20 for sports!!! Are they nuts???

    -JB
     
  12. the_bear

    the_bear Godfather

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    C-Band would definitely be a lot more popular if DBS was not currently offering such big bundle discounts. These bundle discounts come in the form a low setup cost and the convenience of a 4 foot smaller dish. On the bright side, if DBS ever tried to make the bundle discount smaller, people would simply switch to c-band.
    The dream world that many posters on this thread predict would only occur if there was a lot more competition in the TV industry. The current small market combined with a low incremental cost produces very large bundle discounts. It would be impossible to change that without near complete socialization of TV. While you could completely socialize US TV, I’d think that benefits customers either.
    I doubt ESPN would even exist under an a la carte mandate, for the reasons you state. Sports would simply be sprinkled throughout the channels that do sell. Discovery, also expensive, would have a similar fate.
     
  13. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Regarding ESPN, sports, and athletes overpaying... Yes, many are over-paid... BUT, this is not exclusive to sports. Look at actor, actress salaries and high-profile directors... some folks get $20,000,000 for one movie! Yet, we never hear an outcry that USA costs too much because the actors wanted too much money... why not? It's the same argument.

    Also, an interesting thing that I notice... Many of the "I want a la carte instead of bundling" people are the same ones who want their Internet/phone/TV service from the same company. Why is that?

    If choice and non-bundling is better?
     
  14. IowaStateFan

    IowaStateFan Godfather

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    I'm sorry, I must be dense, but I don't get it. First, you say we need more competition for my "dream world" to happen and then you say it would have to be socialized. In my mind those are at opposite ends of the spectrum. I do think more competition would bring about my "dream world". That's the real rub here. The same people providing the programming are also controlling the distribution system so there is no real competition.

    I disagree. Sports programming is very popular. People are willing to pay quite a lot for it. Witness all the "season ticket packages" that go for upwards of $150/year. They couldn't charge that much if people weren't subscribing. I think many people would willingly pay $20/mo for ESPN. That's quite comparable to the movie packages people are buying now. I don't subscribe to movies, but I would subscribe to sports. I agree with those who don't want to subsidize my sports programming.
     
  15. the_bear

    the_bear Godfather

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    Large packages are not reducing competition, the package size is a symptom the lack of competition. People can no more control the laws of economic than the laws of physics. Attempt to reduce package size and you simply replace one symptom with another. Throw more programmers into the mix and current control becomes limited. Until this happens, we can only wait.
    ST is currently underprices by D to get people to move from cable into D basic programming, where the real money is. If basic programming was eliminated, the fair market value of ST would be closer to $300.
     
  16. IowaStateFan

    IowaStateFan Godfather

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    I also think that large package sizes are the result of a lack of competition. More programmers might be the solution, but I think the real problem is that most of the distributors are also suppliers. They have no incentive to offer their programming at a lower cost, or allowing it to be sold a la carte. The few distributors out there that don't also create content are at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating a carriage agreement.

    If you are right, you are making my point. The fair market value is the price that buyers are willing to pay for a product. If it is truly $300 for ST, then don't you think people would pay $20/mo for ESPN? Personally, I think ST is overpriced at $180 or whatever it is currently, but I would pay $20/mo for ESPN.
     
  17. WHNB

    WHNB Mentor

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    1st Item:
    CBS and Verizon announced a retransmission deal today, allowing Verizon to carry CBS O&O TV stations on its fiber optic system. But there was no requirement that CBS be bundled with Viacom cable channels. CBS is said to be now more interested in seeking financial reimbursement from cable operators/telcos for carrying its owned and operated TV stations, rather than in the previous policy of forcing cable systems to carry some Viacom cable channels if they wanted to carry the CBS Network.

    The reason for the change in policy: CBS split off from Viacom in January and is now a separate company from the one that owns MTV Networks (the corporate name for the Viacom cable channels like TVLand, VH1, Nickelodeon, etc.)

    2nd Item:
    The president of Charter Communications told a cable convention Monday that some type of a la carte system will happen. He hoped that the cable industry would come up with a plan before the government forces one on them. He cited pressure on the cable business to unbundle channels from both the political right, who are concerned with indecency, and the left, who want more choice and value.
     
  18. Opynion

    Opynion Godfather

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    Years ago satelite companys offered both on C-band, "a la carte" and channel packs, they co-existed,
    and they can co-exist on E also, that is if Uncle Sam does something about it,
    at least TCM should be offered a la carte, because it's the only channel not available in non of the Latino packs, not even the HD Latino Platinum.
    Personally, I think it's unamerican to pay for stuff that you don't want, for this reason, why pay for channels that you don't want?
     
  19. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    And I hate to have to say it again... but...

    So why isn't everyone on C-band?

    If it is so great and held up as an example of a la carte goodness... I would think people would be eating it up!
     
  20. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I wouldn't count that as a change in policy... If CBS is split from Viacom now, then they wouldn't be able to require a bundle of CBS + Viacom as in the past.

    I suspect CBS still would, however, try to bundle any CBS-owned (say for instance the new CW co-owned with WB network) items together.
     
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