said by djrobx:
Agree, but it would require government intervention. The networks demand inclusion in the base package as part of contract negotiation. If DirecTV didn't agree to that, their customers would be denied the content altogether.
I'm not one who is generally in favor of more laws and more government intervention, but this sounds like an area where a little more intervention could perhaps yield favorable results for the consumer.
I'm a believer in paying for content, and also a believer in freeing up content from draconian and useless rules artificially created by entertainment networks. Government intervention will be the only thing that will ever allow this.
Case in point: I live in Washington, DC. I'd like to receive local channels for Pittsburgh, PA instead, and would even be willing to pay a little extra (say $5/month) to get them, either in addition to or in place of the Washington, DC locals. But I can't - because of the way that laws are set up and contracts are negotiated.
Case in point 2: Over the past year or so, I've casually tracked the channels I watch and record programs from. There are really only a handful of non-network stations (say a maximum of 10-12) that I even watch more than a small handful of times throughout the year. I'd venture to guess that there are a lot of others like me too.
Why are we forced into the chains of what I like to call "entertainment socialism", where the "free market" is prevented from rewarding good channels with good shows and punishing bad channels with bad shows? Consumers should be forced into only buying bundles of channels, and supporting mediocre things which are of no consequence to them? Is it really fair that to subsidize home shopping channels and the like with revenue from stations which are actually successful? I think I'd prefer to see things move more toward the "PBS model" of things - all channels should be "supported by viewers like you", though revenue generated from subscriptions.
I know this is becoming a long-winded post here, so I'll try to wrap things up quickly. What I'd like to see is someone - a company, our government, likely a combination of the two - become a "game changing force" here. Establish contracts with content generators which allow for a fixed per-subscriber fee calculated and paid monthly on each channel individually. Then offer up a service to consumers which allows them to create their own entertainment package with just the channels they want, with various fees for various channels calculated by taking the content generator's rate and adding a fixed percentage fee on top to cover infrastructure costs, administrative costs, and a reasonable profit. Leverage the "Netflix model" for content delivery and offer it up all as an IPTV-based solution.
This solution should stretch across all content generators and providers, and offer true choice. People get to vote with their wallets by subscribing to the channels they like while not buying the channels they don't. People like me who would rather see the news in Pittsburgh instead of DC or elsewhere get to do so. People who want to buy an "NFL Season Ticket Lite" version for just one team per season have the ability to do that, too. And what a wonderful world that would be.