Much like print publishers have stood by and watched their customer base dwindle as the web took over, cable companies have been watching as their customers found new alternatives to shelling out hundreds of dollars for the privelege of watching The Jersey Shore. Accounts vary, but so far "cord-cutters" have represented a relatively small drop off in revenues. As internet connected TVs become more popular and a whole new generation of kids come out of college without any intention of ever getting a cable hook-up, smart pay-TV providers are looking for new ways to offer their consumers value.
As EContent reported after attending Streaming Media East earlier this year, HBO is offering content on-the-go (as are many cable companies).But recently Comcast took a step toward the a la carte option I've been campaigning for. After HBO GO was released, I wrote:
"Because HBO GO is available only to people with existing subscriptions to the channel through a cable provider, it seems that HBO is missing out on a chance to bring in new viewers who are holding out hope for an a la carte solution to their viewing needs."
As GigaOm reported last week:
"For eligible customers, MyTV Choice works like this: You choose from one of two ‘Get Started' packages, which include the major broadcast networks and some additional basic cable networks. The choice basically comes down to whether or not you want to pay for sports networks like ESPN, which cost an additional $20 a month...
Users can then customize their channels, with bundles of content organized into themes. Each channel pack costs an additional $10 on top of the Get Started package. Video-on-demand options would contain content from the networks people have chosen to subscribe to."
I'll admit, I've been tempted to sign up for this. I recently moved and now have Comcast internet. I almost want to give the company more money just to support this move in the right direction away from the more one-size-fits-all subscriptions offered in the past--and so I can watch Sons of Anarchy at my leisure. But the truth is I'd still have to purchase multiple add-ons to get the content I want. I'd like Bravo but don't much care about getting MTV--both part of the "Entertainment & Leisure" package. I'd also like the National Geographic Channel, from the "News & Info" package.
Hopefully we'll see a "pick any 8 channels for $10" package soon.