The À La Carte TV Dream

Many of us out there absolutely hate cable. You’ll start out at a certain price point and then before you know it they’ve doubled or tripled your price.

There’s a couple of online TV companies out there trying to come up with a solution to the cable problem. Most notable of these solutions are the “skinny bundles”: Sling and Playstation Vue. A skinny bundle, in essence, is a small collection of channels that a user does not get to pick and choose. So a user would pay $20 for 20 channels. And while they might love ESPN and AMC they might not necessarily want to see the Freeform Network included in their bundle.

So, of course, people out there would love to go the à la carte model and pick out only the tv networks, series, or specific episodes of a show they’d want to see.

The big problem with the à la carte model, however, is that there’s a fear that networks would sky rocket in price. The reason being that not every customer would be getting their content and the networks have to charge a more premium price to make up for it. That’s why I still propose the notion of bundles but a “pick and choose” model.

An example of a bundle would be a 5 Basic and 1 Premium Channel Bundle. A user can then go network by network and pick and choose channels they’d want to subscribe to. They can then change up their networks monthly. So if in October you want The NFL Network and ESPN but in July you’re more interested in TBS and AMC you can do that.

There are also those times when there is a big live event like The Oscars. For those times networks could have a day pass where you are able to see the network for 24 hours.

Here’s the outline of my à la carte proposal:

TV episodes:

  • Single Episode — Rent or Buy
  • Season Pass — Rent Episodes or Buy Episodes

Networks:

  • Previews
  • Day Pass
  • Subscription
  • Add to bundle

Bundles:

  • 5 Basic Channels
  • 5 Basic Channels, 1 premium channel
  • 10 Basic Channels, 2 premium channels
  • 20 Basic Channels, 5 premium channels
  • etc.

This is, of course, just a dream that doesn’t take in to account the myriad of negotiations that would be needed to make this a reality but oh how I want it to be real.

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