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Intel to Offer A La Cart?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Programming' started by ssm06, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Hoosier205

    Hoosier205 New Member

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    So far we have the following claims:

    A la carte means packages...err...smaller packages.

    Content production, content distributors/owners, and service providers are a massive monopoly never before detected by others.

    Content distributors/owners and service providers operate in collusion.
     
  2. Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Winters,...
    Your concept of collusion is also too wide and vague to be of much use. It is a serious charge, very serious.

    BTW, every analogy falls apart at some point, when take to the limits. Your supermarket analogy fails from the get-go, and I am not going to dissect it.
     
  3. Diana C

    Diana C Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    IPTV and an antenna.
     
  4. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    It's interesting how certain people are always on this forum. Like they spend most waking minutes of the day staring at their screen watching this forum just waiting to pounce on anything. Frequently with no data or argument of any value - just "you're wrong".

    I ask myself why does anyone waste that much of their life and put so much effort into defending an industry. The answer is clear.

    This ad sums up how I feel about TV service today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etauGf9F0cc

    The time where I can't do without this kind of TV service is quickly coming to an end. Lots of other people have already made the switch and lots more will. It will increasingly hurt this entrenched industry.

    If we had a fair economic system this would not be allowed to exist. If the FTC can't stop it with current law then the law needs to be changed.
     
  5. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    You're far too close to this to see the bizarre meaning of that statement.

    Just like Wall Street - hands off. We must be able to do anything we want.
     
  6. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    With Apple I can do just about anything I can do with Microsoft.

    With IPTV and an antenna I can do only a small fraction. It's not yet a viable alternative.
     
  7. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Do you have a definition? Or should people keep guessing until you agree?

    A la carte is an alternate to tiered programming. In tiered programming one must buy A to get B. One must buy B (including A) to get C. One must buy C (including A and B) to get D. A la carte allows consumers to buy D without B or C. (There still may be a base "A" that is required.) A la carte breaks the tier system.

    DirecTV's offerings are a combination of tiers and a la carte. One cannot get the channels in Choice that are not in Entertainment without getting the channels that are in Entertainment. One cannot get the channels in Xtra that are not in Choice without getting the channels that are in Choice. That is the tier system. But the al la carte offerings of DirecTV allows one to add selected individual channels and groups of channels without buying all the levels between.

    A la carte in the c band days included small groups of channels. So unless the claim is a la carte never existed please pick a definition that allows what traditionally has been called a la carte.
     
  8. sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    Kind of like how you have been doing, especially in this topic?
     
  9. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    It's all relative. I have an interest in this topic. I visit to see what is being said and I comment. Rarely I visit dbstalk a couple of times in a day. When I'm engaged in this kind of discussion I'm here at least every day or every other day, sometimes a few days. When I'm not engaged in a thread I may not visit for a week or more.

    People I have in mind usually pounce on my post within a few hours at most, most the time in minutes. Unless those people are here an awful lot they wouldn't be able to respond so quickly so often. They have an irrational vehement interest in anything that is negative about DirecTV.
     
  10. Diana C

    Diana C Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    Simply untrue. Directv (to pick a MCO) could choose to not pay what ESPN/Disney asks. Directv has simply decided that the content ESPN provides is worth what they are asking. They know that they get a lot of subscribers with that content and they would lose a lot of subscribers without it. The only reason a content provider gets away with charging what they do, or setting the terms they set, is because what they have is VALUABLE. Value is determined by the free market.

    Saying that the problem is "collusion" among providers and distributors, or waste in the system, or simple greed, is the real smoke and mirrors. Each content provider is simply doing what any vendor does in a free market - they are maximizing the return on their investment.

    If you think your bill is too high, stop buying the service. If enough people feel that way, and do the same, the system will change. But if they don't it is not because the system is broken...it is because it is working! There is a demand for programming and people are willing to pay for it.

    I'll accept your supermarket analogy. I'll even say that supermarkets would love to sell their higher margin items in bundles with their low margin necessities. They would make a lot more money that way. Why don't they? Because if they did, customers would shop elsewhere.

    It is ultimately the responsibility of the consumer to decide what makes sense for them. It is not the job of the government to protect the consumer from making bad decisions. If you think the TV system is unfair to you, opt out of it. But as long as thee vast majority of people don't agree with you, the market will continue to function in the current mode since this is, by definition, optimal for the most people.

    To go back to the C-band example...

    If al a carte worked so well in C-band, why did it die? I don't see many 3 meter dishes anymore, do you? Consumers PREFFERED the small dish model which included bundles of channels. The market spoke, and DBS grew, while unbundled satellite services died. Again, the VALUE offered was superior and justified the cost.


    You'll have to explain this more...I'm not clear on how this would work. Take the channel lineup DirecTV offers and explain how this ends up saving the consumer money while still covering the costs of the production and distribution system.

    It will certainly come as a surprise to Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, AMC Networks, MTV Networks, NBC, Fox, etc., that they are a monopoly.

    I suppose by that reasoning, car manufacturers are a monopoly as well, since to get a sun roof, I also have to buy leather upholstery and an upgraded sound system, whether or not I want those features. And I guess cellular phone service is a monopoly since if I want a smartphone I have to buy a data plan, even if I only ever use my phone on wifi.

    But maybe you are right...maybe the market will collapse. If it does, then it will change to something else. Maybe that will be an al a carte model, maybe not. But if it does, it will be because the current model stops satisfying the majority of the participants in the market. The consumer, as the largest part of the market, has the most control.

    Look at the music business - once a viable alternative to the distribution of music on physical media appeared the old system collapsed. Consumers decided they didn't want to pay $15 for an album of songs, of which only 2 were what they really wanted, and so an "unbundled" market took over (iTunes, Rhapsody, etc.). It was not up to the record companies to create that new market and slash their revenues...that would be fiduciary irresponsibility. Likewise, it is not up to the content providers or the distributors to come up with an alternative TV market. Others are busy creating that...the current players will either adapt, find other ways to keep their customers, or perish.

    That is the free market in action...and it is alive and well in the TV industry.
     
  11. tonyd79

    tonyd79 Hall Of Fame

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    Because there isn't a big enough market to make it available. It isn't some collision or some law. The market for what you are proposing barely exists. And the portion that serves that market is serving it to its natural level.

    Nothing stops anyone from doing pure a la carte per the industry definition, not yours.. Nothing stops anyone from offering service without espn despite your monopoly claims. Nothing stops anyone from selling product on a piecemeal basis.

    The last one exists. It is called PPV or purchase on DVD or Blu ray or amazon like streaming in the cloud. And it is an expensive way to go on a per hour basis.
     
  12. Diana C

    Diana C Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    That's a matter of perspective. I can get access to all the same programming without a subscription to a traditional cable or satellite system. It may not be as convenient, or have all the same bells and whistles, but there is virtually no content (other than some sports coverage) that can not be gotten via the Internet or disk.

    Likewise, while I can edit a document, or build a presentation, or edit a spreadsheet, on an Apple computer without any Microsoft software, it is less convenient (I may have to convert file formats, and may not be able to share my results as easily). There are some programs I can not run on one platform that are available on the other.
     
  13. Diana C

    Diana C Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    There has been not a single comment made in this discussion in the last few pages that has been focused on DirecTV. By your own arguments, all the MCOs are identical in this. All comments apply equally to DirecTV, Dish, Comcast, et.al. Please don't play the "fanboy" card.
     
  14. FLWingNut

    FLWingNut Godfather

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    As posted earlier, this is all based in value. Directv knows that without ESPN, it will be crippled. And ESPN knows it too. So they have the hammer. If you are thinking regulation is the answer, then you have to go to the root -- what ESPN pays the leagues for broadcast rights. You cant just regulate the distributor without regulating the product. Tell me how that would go.

    No provider is willing to risk staring down ESPN, so you have what we have.
     
  15. sigma1914

    sigma1914 Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    If that's true, then please explain why DirecTV doesn't carry G4 or Longhorn Network?
     
  16. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    BTW: Here are a couple of links on DirecTV's website that discuss a la carte.
    Does DIRECTV offer channels on an a la carte basis?
    What channels are available a la carte for hotels, dorms and hospitals?

    A link from the second page may be interesting: http://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/content/business/dorms/packages. This is the page where business customers can see the price of building their own channel lineup "a la carte" ... with the ESPN channels sold at $4.50 per room.

    To be fair, the market preferred the small dish model and had to buy channels they way they were offered. The initial prices of DBS service was low enough that the bundle was not an issue (especially compared to putting in a C Band dish and descrambler). As the bundle grew in price and content it divided into tier levels.

    It was the small dish and relatively small price that drove DBS sales. The ease of buying it all in a package was not a negative ... there was not that much to buy. But the simplicity of the small dish was what drew people in.
     
  17. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    Enough people want it that no TV service can go without having ESPN.

    ESPN will not allow any carrier to provide it to only a subset of their subscribers.

    Therefore every subscriber on every service must have ESPN and pay for it. That is not a free market.

    And underlying that is the fact that other supermarkets DON'T enforce that bundle. It's real competition. Not the fake kind in TV service.

    Couldn't have anything to do with the massive difference in size and cost of the dish. I suspect that city ordinances don't allow a huge dish on city lots.

    Was there ever a la carte on a small dish? Nope. You can't say it was all due to the failure of a la carte when there is another very significant factor.

    I keep saying effective monopoly in the industry as a whole. It doesn't fit the strict definition and that's why they aren't in court. Which is why they love it so much - all the benefits and none of the risks.

    What I'm saying is that the whole system is effectively a monopoly and the result of that is tying. It's tying that is the problem.

    Car manufacturers are similar to TV services. Tiered base packages with a la carte bundles.

    The difference is that there are many providers with functionally equivalent products. The parts may or may not be from the same source.

    Consider OnStar. Built in to 30 different GM models according to their web site. But I can also buy it for my Ford.

    Would anyone argue that autos have reduced market forces like TV service does?

    That's tying and it should be stopped, especially if the phone is unsubsidized.

    My iPhone is off-contract. I switched to Airvoice Wireless prepaid. Same AT&T network. Data was optional.
     
  18. tonyd79

    tonyd79 Hall Of Fame

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    Agree with the latter statement but evidence that a la carte broke down before the small dish is that bundled appeared as channels went scrambled and you needed to pay for things rather than just find open feeds.

    Americans are big on large consumption. All you can eat (watch) is popular. If it weren't, more people would just drop cable and satellite and put up an antenna. And bundling wouldn't work, even at reduced prices. Directv, for example, averages way more per customer than their lowest package.

    In fact, is say that the early BUD days were driven by that same consumption drive. It wasn't so much particular programming or price side cable was dirt cheap back then. It was CHOICE. a huge skyful of channels for your choosing. When things were unscrambled, the variety and large choice were a large driver for people who had BUDs.

    Small dishes gave the same choice for a price. But small dishes took off not because they were cheaper than cable but because they have more choices. Cable responded with digital cable an adding channels.

    In other words, the market drove us to the big bundles so that consumers had more choices on any given day. We, the consumers drove the current model.

    The model is not broken. It is showing creaks around the sports programming. Sports financing itself is out of hand but still works at this point.

    I contend that there would be no talk of a la carte at all if we were talking non-sports channels only. They are the ones tilting the price right now.
     
  19. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    Market forces do stop anyone from offering service without ESPN.

    ESPN will not allow any carrier to subset their subscribers. All or nothing.

    Market forces make nothing an impossible choice.

    So the choice for consumer is no service at all or pay ESPN.

    Whatever you want to call it its tying and illegal in most circumstances.
     
  20. ub1934

    ub1934 Icon

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    To go back to the C-band example...

    If al a carte worked so well in C-band, why did it die? I don't see many 3 meter dishes anymore, do you? Consumers PREFFERED the small dish model which included bundles of channels. The market spoke, and DBS grew, while unbundled satellite services died. Again, the VALUE offered was superior and justified the cost.

    The al a carte is the thing i miss most from my C band days ( 1997/1999 ) had east & west coast feeds of the networks + KTLA & most of the local feeds . C band was PREFFERED because PQ was much better then DBS small dish . The small dish grew because you did not have to swing your dish from one bird to another to watch two Pgms. :)
     

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