Saturday, November 1, 2008

Well, cable and satellite bills were going up anyway

My daughter usually checks with me before going to Internet sites which she hasn't heard of before. She asked me about a site that was supposed to have episodes of one of the CW shows, but I suggested she check it out first since it wasn't at the CW web site.

The very next day, I had to visit the CBS website for professional purposes (I was checking on a possible product placement). To do this, I watched a recent episode of one of CBS's shows (actually, I just watched the beginning of the episode, which concerned the product placement in question). While CBS advertised that the video for this one-hour show was only 44 minutes long, I noticed that they were inserting commercial breaks into the episode. However, the commercial breaks were shorter than the ones I would have seen on regular TV.

As networks accept the new online model, some people are opting out of cable or satellite service altogether. Look at this tweet:

canceled my comcast cable and tivo - from this point forward I'm going all internet / netflix

As is the case with many tweets, this launched a FriendFeed discussion. It also launched an L.A. Times blog post:

Kevin Rose is an influential guy in Silicon Valley, the kind other young gearheads follow. And that includes on micro-blogging service Twitter, which is where Rose announced to the world that he had canceled his Comcast cable and TiVo subscriptions.

"From this point forward I'm going all internet / netflix," he wrote. A few dozen FriendFeed users posted comments about his decision, with many saying that they had done the same or were thinking about it.

But the availability of shows wasn't the only reason that Rose dumped Comcast.

Rose should be in the cable industry's sweet spot. He takes his entertainment seriously. But he said he decided to dump Comcast after reading a slew of stories on Digg about how to conserve cash during the recession.

Note the product placement. Let's continue:

"I was not going to cut my gym membership," said Rose, who is sporting a newly buffed physique.

It's not that Rose is against ponying up for entertainment. His complaint: Cable companies don't offer an a la carte menu so Rose can pay for only what he wants. "I'd be happy to pay for it if they would offer it," he said. "But they don't offer that. It's all or nothing."

Bloggers who are much less knowledgeable than Kevin Rose have talked about this little problem with cable and satellite subscriptions. Is it possible that a move away from cable and satellite to online viewing will cause the cable and satellite companies to offer a la carte pricing?

Nah, they'll just lobby the next Congress to put restrictions on online broadcasting.

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