Why do we have to pay for the other 177 TV channels?

June 21st, 2016 Back

As I sat last night, ready to watch the NBA Finals (congrats Cleveland for a well-deserved title), I did a little channel surfing as a sort of warm up for the big game. I had not surfed channels for a long time, and it did not take but a minute to realize the sheer amount of unwatched channels available to me.

Not only did I stare in awe at the screen, but I also started to wonder how many people actually count the channels they really watch on a weekly basis, compared to the actual channels available to them. And who is in charge of naming some of those channels?

So I asked myself, are there any options available when it comes to cutting the waste in the whole channels menu?


 Build-your-own programming?

When you pay for cable TV, you get on average 194 channels, all available for your viewing pleasure. The problem is that many of us only watch a handful of them, 17 according to a recent survey, leaving us with the nagging question, “why do we pay for those other 177 channels?”

If you ask a viewer, the answer would go something like “I guess …just in case?” But maybe you have been paying cable for ten years already and that “just in case” never happened. Is there an alternative? A pay-for-you actually-watch option?

That would mean you could pay for you actually watch. In other words, you pick from their menu, decide you want to subscribe to X number of channels and boom! There you would be saving hundreds of dollars a year. So, if it sounds so simple, why nobody has been able to offer it so far?


Whose fault is it?

Even though we usually blame the cable companies for those extra channels they include in their packages, cable companies in turn blame media companies, arguing that those media companies force them to include extra channels in their offerings.

Imagine a similar situation in which a company is interested in hiring your services and you reply with “if you really want to hire me and work at your shop, you also have to hire my two cousins and my brother-in-law, regardless of their skills. Does that sound like a deal?” Well, that’s the deal most people have at home.

Whose fault is it?

It is your fault!

For instance, according to the American Cable Association, when a cable company requests the Disney channel, you also get ABC Family, SoapNet, Toon Disney, ESPN Channels. And with Fox Sports, you get National Geographic, Fox Soccer, Fox Business, Fox Sports College, Fox Reality, Fuel, Big 10 Network, Fox Movie Channel. So, the cable companies’ argument goes, they are unable to “unbundle” those offering because they are being forced to include those other channels.

Regardless of who we can blame for this expensive bundling of channels -it makes sense to blame the cable company since consumers pay them directly- the reality is that viewers may only enjoy a tiny fraction of the available channels.


Conflicts of interest

With a whopping average of almost $100 a month for cable, viewers are anxious to find a better, more affordable and sensible way to enjoy their favorite TV shows and movies. And who blames them? In this battle between cable and media companies, streaming services appear to be on the consumer’s side, trying to offer bundles that would satisfy most of the consumers at a more affordable price.

We are still at the forefront of a TV streaming revolution, with services coming to the market to try to solve this conundrum. At Vidgo TV, we are positive that the launch of the VIDGO streaming app will push the wave in the right direction, allowing customers to enjoy a more affordable way to enjoy TV without sacrificing any of their favorite channels.


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