Dennis D. McDonald ( is an independent consultant located in Alexandria Virginia. His services and capabilities are described here. Application areas include project, program, and data management; market assessment, digital strategy, and program planning; change and content management; social media; and, technology adoption. Follow him on Google+. He also publishes on and aNewDomain.

Cable TV Is Totally Missing the Point

Cable TV Is Totally Missing the Point

By Dennis D. McDonald

On September 10 USA Today ran a story called Cable channels undergo TV make overs that reviewed the pressure the cable TV industry is under as subscription growth slows and programmers seek to attract new viewers through means such as sexing up individual programs, renaming old networks to appeal to broader audiences, and playing around with what individual "tiers" include.

On the same day the AP ran the story Broadcasters Launch Ads Against Device that reports on TV industry advertising aimed at convincing regulators and legislators to block experimentation by computer companies to use unused broadcast spectrum to transmit digital signals to support services such as over the air internet. Broadcasters' complaints is that the experimental devices interfere with standard reception. (Some have suggested that the real reason for the ads is to reduce the threat of competition. You be the judge.)

I am encouraged by reports like these. The elephant in the closet is that consumers are beginning to tire of the monopolistic practices of the cable TV industry and its refusal to support customer's ability to pay only for the channels they want.

The last thing the cable TV industry wants is to give customers the ability to select and pay for the only channels they want. The current tier system is designed to force consumers to pay increased rates for unwanted channels so that, among other things, low-demand channels can be subsidized through bundling with high demand channels.

Perhaps consumers and customers are starting to see the light due to increasing availability of alternatives. Point-and-click access to video via broadband internet is the shining example that obviously has broadcasters scared.

I am aware that true freedom of choice would probably threaten the availability of programming that I do occasionally enjoy. I'm willing to risk that. I'll agree not to force you to pay for The Science Channel if you agree not to force me to pay for The Shopping Channel. Deal?




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