The Future of Cable

The cable companies have held a monopoly on the living room of every American for generations. The dawning of the Internet I believe that there strangle hold is nigh.

Now for a brief overview of how content is delivered to the customers. Production studios create content. Content gets shopped to Networks. Networks may and commonly have multiple channels. The networks are usually owned by large corporations. So on corporation goes to another corporation and negotiates licensing fees to allow the latter to carry their content/channels, usually the cable corporations have to carry multiple channels in order to get one particular channel that their customers actually want.

So what we are left here is, cable providing literally thousands of channels to their customers, where only a dozen or so are actually watched. Customers don't want this, it creates an illusion of luxury.

Then we have the cable box, that dusty cheap piece of crap that we get free and must have to watch all these channels we don't really want. Oh, we may have DVR functionality or HD even but the boxes are essentially the same. They don't get upgraded, they are locked down and won't communicate with your other devices in your house. If you even want a semblance of this you must go through them; the cable companies.

Than the cable companies got the idea of the home-run. Sell all their services bundled together to hide their ever rising prices. The customer sees a discount but they must get the other services to get the discount but ultimately paying more than if they had just the original desire product. These products being internet, digital phone and or TV. They selling this bundles because it takes customers away from their competition. In the old days, maybe 20 years ago, cable competition existed. But corporations don't like competition so they ALL got together and decided to regulate themselves. They essentially divided all the markets in the country among the bigger companies. So now they only compete against other telecom companies, mainly the telephone operators.

So thats the current situation. What would I like to see from the cable companies? * al la carte pricing * eliminate the bundles and home-runs * open standards on what devices you receive your content

I'd propose and this is not a new a idea but why can't the cable companies just offer us the channels we want. Of course the popular channels will cost more and the not so popular will be cheaper. I believe this would be cheaper for the masses, and super cheap for the people who watch TV just for those niche channels. This would open up new pricing models and opportunities for the companies, they'll always find a way to make a profit. But the main roadblock of this ever happening is the Networks requiring the cable companies to carry their other channels. What if they offered something similar with their internet speeds. Pay for what you consume. make the low speed their "roadrunner lite" packages super cheap for the grandmas and the masses not savvy in tech. These changes would bring a much needed facelift to an industry sorely in need of one publicly.

Remove the stupid bundles, let us buy the services we only want. This will force you to compete more segmentally and would open up competition int he market. How about try innovating other than locking us into a system.

and my second point leads me to my last, those super gray boxes we all have in our living rooms. They stifle competition. Let me bring my own device into the living room. I don't want a room full of different boxes for different content, id on't want a coffee table full of remotes for those devices. Let the various tech companies making those devices cut you out and negotiate directly with the content creators. Essentially bring the internet to the living room over you pipes.

The cable industry is dying, ever soaring mobile bills, a reinvesting of their profits go into maintaining customers, not getting new ones. This is largely due to the markets not growing. The cable operators are being relegated into just being a pipe, just like the telephone companies, just like the wireless carriers. The sooner they embrace this and develop new ways to monetize on that without stifling competition; the better they will be off.

Addendum: I'll spellcheck and edit this later. I typed this entirely in ten minutes from the terminal. So, apologies.