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I'm glad this is being discussed but I'm skeptical that it will have any kind of impact on cost savings. What I suspect will happen is the cost of a la carte channels will have to be increased to counteract the loss of subscribers through packages.
Right, but this would surely kill off some channels, so you would get less selection and no cost savings.
Of course a la carte isn't going to be cheaper. Europe has a la carte for sports channels and it's $25 a month for the soccer channels in most countries. It's $75 in the UK. Sports fans basically freeload off of the majority that don't watch sports. They are the demographic that will pay through the nose for this.
Of course a la carte isn't going to be cheaper. Europe has a la carte for sports channels and it's $25 a month for the soccer channels in most countries. It's $75 in the UK.
The blackout lift for publicly financed stadia is the key thing here. It will make mlbtv an option for folks like me who live in the hometown but don't want cable/satellite.
chances mccain got this idea from his grandkids >100%
kids say this to their parents all the time
There's a fair chance he got the idea from conservative bloggers/twitterers. Apparently there's been a bit of a push for this sort of legislation as a way to put MSNBC and CNN out of business, or at least harm them.
5 years since I switched exclusively to torrents for shows/movies and streaming for live stuff... No regrets.
Isn't HBO kind of the measuring stick here? It's been "a la carte" forever and it's $15 or so per month. I guess anything's possible, but I can't see that many people paying more for ESPN than HBO.
Compare that to ESPN and live sports. ESPN has live sports just about every night of the week, and once the game ends, the interest in watching it drops exponentially. Think of boxing on PPV. They can charge $50 for a night. ESPN can almost name their price if they keep all their live sports.
Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) on Thursday unveiled legislation that would upend the cable and satellite business, forcing them to let customers pick-and-choose which channels they would like to get rather than take programming in bundles.
“The video industry, principally cable companies and satellite companies and the programmers that sell channels, like NBC and Disney-ABC, continue to give consumers two options when buying TV programming: First, to purchase a package of channels whether you watch them all or not; or second, not purchase any cable programming at all,” McCain said in remarks prepared to deliver on the floor of the Senate…..
The blackout lift for publicly financed stadia is the key thing here....
Hell, FX is launching a new channel in the fall, and moving some of the current programming over.
Really though, what are the implications of this, assuming it passes?
You're close. The push for the legislation started picking up steam when FX was airing episodes of the show "Nip/Tuck." The show pushed the boundaries of what could be aired on basic cable.
Fundamentalist Christian groups became upset when the creator of the show said something about wanting to show gay sex on the show. That advanced the movement about being able to pick and choose cable stations.
I haven't had a cable cord in years, and strongly support blowing up the entrenched cable model in favor of ANYTHING else
There's potentially more value added by broadcasting on other stations. ESPN isn't simply ESPN. ESPN is owned by a content provider which also owns plenty of other stations. That content provider has an interest in owning the rights to live sports not simply as a way of selling advertising content, but also as a way of promoting its other programming/channels.
As an example, Disney might value being able to deliver live sports content on one of its stations more than the MLB/NFL/NHL/NBA would value delivering it on their own channel. Ergo that programming will still be delivered on those non-MLB/NFL/NHL/NBA channels.
So there were few options, but the quality was really good, despite the oppressive censorship. You never see anything as good as The Twilight Zone or Have Gun Will Travel anymore for free. Once cable came along, and the audience started to fragment, there were more options, but less quality, unless the programming was directly pay per view (like The Sopranos or The Wire).
If a la carte were an option, and it magically preserved all of the choices of the current cable dial and didn't cost too much, would you get back into a monthly bill? I can't imagine why anyone would.
I don't really see why Netflix (or Amazon or Hulu or Youtube or heck Google) doesn't buy up a lot of these shows networks are cancelling that seem to have a decent audience. Shows like 1600 Penn, Happy Endings, Enlightened, Ben and Kate, Fringe all seem to have enough buzz or viewers that although not good enough for network (or HBO), but would be a good amount of eyeballs for a fledgling "channel" like Netflix, and might give them some cache.
I'm supposed to watch something with dragons as a plot point?
I know, right? The other day some guy tried to sell me on watching some garbage full of absurd plot points about ghosts and witches. I told him I'm above watching Game of Thrones, Homeland, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men, and I'm certainly way above watching that sort of crap.
Bingo. MLB makes far more from FOX/ESPN than they would on their own as MLBtv because FOX/ESPN is paying a premium. The sports leagues don't want to be on their own. They're in the baseball business, not the TV business. These huge sports deals - most networks don't turn a profit from them.
Kind of related to the story: I wish I could pick and choose which programs and services my taxes supported.
And yet the MLB Network was created, and has taken over the pregame show production duties from FOX.
To supplement the FOX/ESPN/TBS coverage, not be the primary carrier. MLB cannot make nearly as much money off MLB Network/MLBTV as it can off FOX/ESPN/TBS.
Suggestion #1 would be to count the fees they charge the cable companies. ESPN isn't getting $5.00/subscriber (or more) because of SportsCenter.
I get to watch every Detroit Tigers game, any NBA playoff game I want, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, The Americans, and whatever other random stuff I flip to from time-to-time. I don't feel like I'm being ripped off.
Among other things - construction of the head ends, Network Operations Centers, and other infrastructure costs associated with creating a regional network from scratch are prohibitive.
That costs you a total of $250 for the year or $21/month. If you think its worth the extra $40 a month for the convenience, the ability to have GoT immediately, and the ability to flip through other shows, that's fine. But we did the math, and it was pretty clear we were paying too much.
2. When I recently explored this my internet cost would go up if I got it as a standalone product.
Call your internet provider and tell them you're thinking of jumping ship. After we "unbundled" we did that and ended up getting locked into a one year price at the same amount.
A la carte would seem to be feasible (and highly profitable) in the sense of "buy a package and then pay for an additional channel or two". Our younger children would greatly enjoy Sprout, but to get the channel would raise our monthly cost by $13. If it were $3-5 for one additional channel, we'd pay for it (as this is on the order of what we arguably pay for our local PBS station).
I am probably the furthest thing from a capitalist, but I feel the free market works extremely well in the modern, internet age, entertainment industry. I
This legislation will probably not pass. I think the reason it will not pass is that these companies will get less money if it passes
That, and Congress can't even seem to agree on a non-binding resolution that "Puppies are adorable."
MLB cannot make nearly as much money off MLB Network/MLBTV as it can off FOX/ESPN/TBS.
MLBtv (if you are not subject to a Tigers blackout) is $120 a year.
The complete current season of Mad Men is $26.
You can't get the current season of Game of Thrones - you'll have to wait about 6-8 months and it will run about $40.
The Americans current season is available at Hulu.com for $7/month of by itself at Amazon.com for $26.
A decent antenna to get OTA HD programming will run you $40.
A Roku to stream your shows to your TV will run you about $60.
That costs you a total of $350 for the year or $29/month. If you think its worth the extra $30 a month for the convenience, the ability to have GoT immediately, NBA Playoff games (I believe NBA League Pass does not make them available immediately, you have to wait 3 hours) and the ability to flip through other shows, that's fine. But we did the math, and it was pretty clear we were paying too much.
EDIT: Forgot some costs.
Much as I'm not a fan of cable and phone company monopolies and oligopolies, I can't say that the deal I'm getting would be high on my list of consumer complaints.
I pay like $60 a month for cable. Just one TV, one DVR. For this I get to watch every Detroit Tigers game, any NBA playoff game I want, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, The Americans, and whatever other random stuff I flip to from time-to-time. I don't feel like I'm being ripped off. If it went up a bit (and it will, we'll see how good I am at haggling next time), then I still will feel like it is a fair deal.
Eight months of the year, I pay $199 for a Fios bundle that includes high speed internet, a land line with unlimited long distance calling, a cell phone with no limits that I'd ever exceed, and a Fios Premium TV package that gives me the clearest picture I've ever have and will ever need. For the other four months, I add $45 for the Extra Innings package. And with a DVD recorder I make it all back in what I save on DVD costs.
When you put it that way, I'm starting to wonder if the rights fees MLB is charging are high enough!
ESPN right now is trying to take a huge share of the package cost. At some point, cable/satellite aggregation (as it currently exists) isn't going to be worth it. ESPN's aggregation will still be useful to customers, and as such will still be useful to MLB. But think about it this way: a cable company could put in its basic package both MLB Network and NFL Network, and various RSNs, instead of ESPN. How many people would take that package?
Yes. That's an excellent point and is something I was thinking about when considering an individual channel itself as a content aggregation. In the end, you might actually desire increasingly specialized and homogenous channels (exactly as you suggest with regard to choosing to subscribe to MLB + NFL network instead of ESPN).
And that's with an a la carte model. I'm actually thinking of an alternate scenario now.
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