Originally Posted by MichaelLAX
Are you really suggesting that ESPN breaks even?!?
You are correct, the successful channels like ESPN will cost the individual subscriber more. Unless, of course that is the only channel you subscribe to.
The lower rated channels will go dark, just like our favorite television shows do once they cannot be supported by their ratings. Or maybe the higher rated television shows should be required to subsidize the lower rated ones, so that they do not have to be cancelled!
My worry is that it could affect networks like AMC, which produce great content that people might not want to pay the freight to watch if it doesn't already come into their homes as part of a service. Plus, if only the actual viewers financed shows like Mad Men, I doubt they could afford to pay for it.
Networks like TNT and USA might be OK since people are used to having them (and there's sports to drive in more viewers), but I don't think a network like AMC would do as well without those carriage fees.
You can say all you want about how networks should be left to fail, but I would sure miss the kind of quality AMC puts out with the shows they do - several of which were passed over by other networks, like Breaking Bad which didn't get picked up by FX.
My fear is that when cable becomes solely a popularity contest, all we'll be left with is Snooki - assuming D* strikes a deal with Viacom, of course...
I do think carriers should certainly push back when a channel clearly is a money grab, but then they essentially become the gatekeepers of what's "good" or "bad" rather than simply being the provider of a choice in programming for the viewer.
Honestly, what would be a great compromise is better packaging. Break down the channels into types, pretty much into the groups as they often sit in the guide. That way, you could choose packages for general entertainment (USA, TNT, AMC, SciFi, etc) Sports, Kids and Family, Educational, News, etc. Then add the ala carte option to add individual channels to whatever package(s) you chose as your base. It would avoid the issue of paying more for fewer channels, but limit the number of channels you buy that you don't want.
So, for example, I might choose a general entertainment package since I like stuff on USA, TNT, SciFi, etc, then add Discovey and the Disney Channel ala carte to get those two channels without getting the whole package they might come in. It means I pay for FX, which I don't currently watch anything on, but I wouldn't have to pay for MTV, the news channels or ESPN, which I also don't watch.
Another option might be a "pick any X number of channels for Y price" where you can choose channels in set numbers in micro packages you build yourself.Edited by NetworkTV - 7/14/12 at 10:20am