The fact that 100 million people might accept this doesn't make it the best economic model. If that were standard, we really ought to seriously consider adopting the Chinese model of government as more people put up with it than any model in the world. In the case of television, it just makes it what is.
You're right on that point... Just because 100 million people accept it doesn't make it the best way... but it does make it a viable way to do it. IF 100 million people said "no thanks" then the model would have to change, right?
There are a lot more than 100 million people who are similarly saying "no thanks"... so maybe if an alternative popped into place, some of those people would hop on board.
I don't drink or smoke... but those products have a market and lots of people do drink and smoke. I don't have to buy either or partake in either... but it doesn't mean that there isn't a market for it. Heck, most people know smoking is bad for you, and yet still there are enough people willing to buy to make it a profitable venture. Same for drinking, there are plenty of people who want to imbibe to make that profitable too.
So... 100 million people may not be 100% right... but they aren't entirely wrong, and if 100 million people are willing to pay, and you are running a business that can sell... you'd be crazy not to sell!
Your arguments are simplistic, at best, and quite unrealistic. Everyone cannot just decide to stop paying for cable, and voila. Prices fall.
Sure they CAN... I doubt that they ever WILL... but they most definitely CAN. Before the American Revolution, I suspect the British government said "everyone will not just decide to rebel from us"... and yet it happens.
Every once in a while something is important enough for people to take a stand. IF it isn't important enough, then it continues.
Arguably, if 100 million people are willing to partake... then even if they complain, as long as they pay their bills where is the incentive for cable/satellite to change their business model?
It's also beyond silly to argue that most people think the cable model works for them. Other than on this board, I have never heard a single person tell me they think their cable bill is a fair value.
How many people are members of DBSTalk? How many are members of other similar sites? Betting that number is FAR less than 100 million. 1 million forum members would only be 1% of the pay tv customers... and I know if you tally the members here and at other pay tv discussion forums, you will not approach that 1%... probably won't get above 0.5%...
And the fact that most of the 100 milllion customers are paying their bills month to month and year-to-year... well, that kind of supports the notion that even if they have complaints they value the service more than they de-value by the problems... thus they keep paying the bill to have the service.
To some extent people "need" TV and they are partly captive to the programmers because the market is not fully competitive. So prices are higher than they otherwise would be.
I'm not sure how much more competitive it could be... Dish, DirecTV, and each market has at least one cable option... some also have U-Verse or Verizon FIOS or something similar as well. I, for example, have options of Dish, DirecTV, U-Verse, and Time Warner. Oh, and I also could go "free" for OTA as well as a fifth choice for TV.
It costs a LOT of money to startup a DBS company and launch satellites... it isn't chicken feed to startup a cable system either. So it's not likely a mom & pop operation will launch something like they could a restaurant or retail store. Some businesses take too much startup funds for just anybody to try and compete.
You mention restaurants. Well, if cable were as competitive as that industry, we'd all be paying lower prices. It isn't.
We've done math before... regarding what cable TV cost say in 1980 and the number of channels available vs today's costs and number of channels available. Prices have gone up to be sure, but number of channels & choices has too... so arguably the price-per-channel has gone down over time.
That seems kind of competitive to me.
How are fast food places doing with that same metric? Price of burgers and fries goes up, and sometimes portion sizes go down... so you pay more for the same amount of food OR pay the same for less food than say 10 years ago.
The model of competitive pricing you suggest should mean that prices would go down over time at fast food places... but that isn't what is happening is it?
You examples of supermarkets and six packs are similarly simplistic. I have the choice of more than a dozen supermarket chains within driving distance of me. And six-packs are cheaper because of basic economies of scale.
As I noted, I have the choice of 5 methods of broadcast TV delivery... and some internet options I haven't even explored. It takes far less money to start a grocery store than it does to launch a cable or satellite outfit.
I have only a couple of choices for phone service to my home (traditional, not cellular), and only one choice for power and for water... Power and water are arguably necessities, and yet the price on those services has been kept down as a monopoly rather than competition. So... competition isn't always the best way to deliver affordable services.
Economies of scale... exactly! That's why Coke will sell me a 6-pack for less per drink than a single Coke. EXACTLY the same metric by which Disney will sell me their suite of channels more cheaply than any individual one by itself... and other companies bundle the same... and then Dish bundles those groups into tiers... and so forth.
Economies of scale works with TV too
Yes, programmers can argue economies of scale - but they have far more market power than grocery stores and soda makers. So I am all in favor of laws that make markets more competitive, but not necessarily more regulated.
How? Genuinely... how could laws make markets more competitive? I honestly can't think of a way right at the moment.