Ala carte ain't happenin' for some time if ever.
Unless Congress creates a bill that program providers not offered to consumers a la carte are paid entirely by a portion of their total hours of viewing (and considering the FCC says cable can now encrypt local channels, this is easily measurable very accurately providing the unit is connected to cable, internet or telephone and would not operate without it), don't expect the increasing fees to stop, especially with channel bundling.
But your observations about channel group "bundling" are somewhat on target.
For example: When Viacom held Dish and DirecTV hostage earlier this year wanting exorbitant rate hikes (double digit)...they dangled a few popular channels in front of the providers saying if they didn't pay "X" for the bundle...their customers would go dark on those popular channels. Still, Viacom was actually trying to get the sat service providers to also pay the same or more for unpopular channels with low ratings (TeenNick, Logo and Palladia) contained in those same bundles. Overall...it's a hostage situation for more money.
This channel group practice of "negotiation by threat" happens with almost every time carriage agreement terms approach expiration. It affects all providers - sat, cable, fiber, Internet. At some point, service carriers will have to say "no" to one of them to reinvent the process.