For years now, my dad has been talking about how nice it would be if the TV cable and satellite companies would offer people an a la carte menu of channels to select from. I have completely agreed with him-- I didn't like paying for 200-plus channels, when my family and I only watched about 15 of them! Sattelite companies would like you to think that such a plan is impossible (in fact, there's an ad on TV right now, I think it's for DirecTV, stating that while such a thing would be nice, no one can offer that right now), I think that's a load of garbage.
If I could choose my own channels, I would be such a happy customer, I would recommend them to ALL of my friends. I would even be okay with having to select a minimum of, say, 50 channels in a package. I don't mind being sold a package. Just let me choose what's IN that package! I would even pay more per channel if I didn't have all the garbage.
We had Dish Network for a few years, and we had over 200 channels. We blocked SO many of them. There were a huge pile of shopping channels, spanish-speaking channels and religious channels that we just weren't going to watch. On the other hand, we would have LOVED to have had the Mountain so we could watch BYU games, or Versus, so my hubby could watch the Tour de France, or even National Geographic channel. Silly! We didn't want so many of channels we were "required" to pay for in order to get the few we wanted.
It doesn't really make sense. Recently, cable and satellite providers seem getting their proverbial butts kicked by that fabulous friend-of-mine, Netflix, and rightly so! With Netflix, I pay a small monthly fee and I watch whatever streamed shows are available as much as I want to-- they aren't brand-new shows, but between Netflix and Hulu, I'm satisfied. There are only a couple of shows I am missing, and guess what! Next year I can catch them on Netflix! I do wish Netflix had more to choose from, but as time goes by more and more shows and movies are added to their lists, and subsequently, into my queue.
There was an article in the Deseret News today by Lane Williams about this very thing. The writer was discussing the fact that, although he doesn't watch MTV, if he pays for TV, he is supporting and helping fund MTV's programming lineup, which includes primarily shows that he has no interest in watching. I hadn't really ever thought about that before: that I helped support MTV (not to mention VH1, Spike and others) and it's garbage for those years I had satellite TV service, even though I had that channel blocked in my home! If it isn't something I want to watch, why would I want to line their pockets or help pay for TV shows that I find inappropriate and offensive!? Ridiculous. In the article, he said it's estimated that about $10 a year goes to MTV from each household paying for cable TV. Even if it's only $5, I don't like it.
I wonder if enough people leave cable and satellite TV behind in favor of Netflix, hulu.com and other sources where we can choose what we watch when we want to watch it, if satellite and cable TV providers will realize it's time to change things up. They could generate a lot of new business (we would return!) if they offered more choices in programming. As I previously stated, they could offer packages where you had to choose 50, 75, 100 channels, and still offer their lumped-together-with-junk packages. Some people would still buy them... maybe.
The people who would be most adversely affected by this proposition would probably be the owners of shopping channels, but even they would probably get enough business to stay in business. There are folks who enjoy shopping on TV, right?
It feels like it would be a win-win, in the long run, but TV providers are just too afraid of thinning in their personal wallets to take the chance. I hope soon they are forced to it by people like me, who finally get fed up and walk away.