I pose a simple question to you all. Do you really use the 800+ channels from your cable or satellite provider? Better yet, do you use more than 50%? Doubt it. I would say you use no more than 20%. Now, now - don't scoff at that. There is no need to feel guilty about the fact that you blow $50 to $100 a month on 750+ unwatched TV channels. It's not your fault. The cable and satellite TV industry needs a way to cover their huge costs of programming. Between your fees and advertising revenues, they can barely afford to create 17 new pilots that won't make it through a full season.
Seriously though, the problem is that there is really no other alternative. We live in a world where people use the concept of "on demand programming" as a way to make you think you can customize your viewing pleasures. You can add movies or sports when you want them - for a modest fee ranging from $10.99 to $300 for the season - to dress up your already heavily used TV channel line up. Uh, ya.
Hogwash. Malarkey. Baloney. You get the picture.
Well, the other day, I tasted the forbidden fruit of broadcasting - and I want more. I need more. I refuse to go back. I am willing to only ask for 20 channels, and I will pay a ridiculous sum for them. What is this amazing drug you ask? Live TV on my computer. But not just live TV on my computer, but live broadcasts of San Diego Padres games that are not on local or cable TV in my area (sans the Direct TV MLB package that runs a billion dollars for the year).
You see, I bought the Pennant Package. Simply put, my team may make the World Series, and I can pay $19.95 to watch the key games in September and October live on my computer (blackouts permitting). Now that is slick.
So what, you say? Let me put it this way. The baseball season is long. 162 games long. That is one game for every 2.25 days in a year. You can't watch all those, so why buy all of them. Better yet, only a few teams have a run at the playoffs. By mid season, you know if your team is "el stinko" or "el grande papa" pretty fast. I follow my team via ESPN.com throughout the season. If they get hot and make a run at the playoffs (like they are now), then I am all in. If not, I am not. It's too depressing to watch a team flounder for the 80 games after the All Star break.
Okay, so other than realizing I let my emotions become too attached to the friars of San Diego, what the heck is my point? I would gladly pay the same $50 to $100 (or more) on programming if I could do it a la carte. Better yet, let me access it from my computer so I can get stats and do email during the commercial breaks - which, by the way, there were NO commercials. They just showed silly comments and things during the break like you see before a movie when the lights are on in the theaters. I was giddy.
If you would allow me to pay for the just a few shows and to watch them when I wanted, it would be Nirvana. I would buy ESPN, House, Grey's Anatomy, history and cooking channels (Got to love it when Bobby Flay crushes his opponents on Iron Chef baby). I would throw in the Disney Channel for my daughters, and then I would pay for key things like an NFL package or an HBO's series like Entourage. Last, I would sprinkle on top a few on-off shows here and there based on what struck my fancy on any given day.
Let's take this one step further. I would pay a ridiculous amount of money for the ability to block certain commercials, and to only watch the ones I wanted. Why not - it's programming too - right? I don't want my 3-year old daughter catching the Levitra spot and asking me what a 6-hour....well, you know I mean. Nope. Don't need that conversation right now. Nor do I want to see any Capital One advertisement ever again. I would rather put a stick in my eye or chew on tin foil.
Here is the point. If am paying for it, then I should be able to get what I want. If your cable bill is $85 a month, then you stand to spend over a thousand dollars in the course of a year. The average annual family income is about $70K. The median is around $43K. Depending on how you look at it, the basic American is spending 1.5% to 2.5% of their gross income on TV broadcasting. So why should you have to buy the "one size fits all" package?
The broadcast industry could make more money by allowing choice. I would spend more for it and consume less. I would pay more attention to the 30 second commercial if I could chose which categories (or ads) I wanted to see. I would have greater dedication to my programming. Wow. Novel concept - MY PROGRAMMING.