April 6, 2009 1:26 AM

Stop The Video Loop! More Propagation of Complaints on Channel/Price Escalation

OK, I've got to stop chasing my tail, and I promise this will be my last blog (for at least a little while) on the subject of the subscription TV-cable programmer price spiral.  Maybe it's just the natural insecurity of a new blogger, but I feel compelled to point out whenever someone with even more experience as a reporter is reporting on something I've noticed, which--in case you haven't been reading is my completely-consumer (I'm a telecom guy, remember) fixation on subscription TV prices.  This past Friday, April 3d, Rob Pegoraro of the Washington Post wrote an on-line article, on the propagation of "included" channels and the unstoppable increase in subscription TV prices (the same article was printed in the Sunday, April 5th print edition of the post).  Mr. Pegoraro made an observation, also from last week's Cable Show, that prices for subscription TV bundles were going higher--across the board--whether the provider be cable, telco, or satellite.  His article makes some of the same observations that I have made, in a general sense, but he makes others, that are even more concise and compelling.  You might have to register for the Post article, but it's short, and worth the read.  However, his conclusions, and hoped-for solutions, are largely the same that surfaced in my March 24th post

So, for those of you that don't want to set up a Post account, I'll copy the last three paragraphs of Mr. Pegoraro's article (from the on-line version, with active links), that describe the problem-solution dichotomy in a more succinct manner than I have managed to do so far:  

"But the industry as a whole needs to get over the bundling concept. There's no longer any technological requirement for these huge packages. The digital systems of all the major services, unlike analog cable boxes, are perfectly capable of providing a customized feed and billing users appropriately.

At some point, one of these companies will realize that. In the meantime, you have the option of building your own bundle: Cancel your TV service, then combine over-the-air digital TV, downloads from iTunes and Amazon, free streaming from Hulu and the networks' Web sites, and DVD rentals from Netflix and others.

That's not an easy switch, especially if you're uncomfortable with plugging a computer into a TV. But paying more every year for the TV industry's broken business model isn't getting any easier, either."  Rob Pegoraro, "Searching for Ways to Break Cable's Bulk Model", Washington Post, April 5, 2009, G1,4.

Stay tuned for what I think will be a good, fresh, series of suggestions for how to best maximize the broadband grant funds in the ARRA.  

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