And the cable providers wonder why things like BitTorrent, Hulu, Netflix and the rest are so popular.

Love grousing about cable TV? Then I’ve got a list for you. It comes from industry analyst SNL Kagan, and I came across it via a research note Barclays Capital’s Anthony DiClemente sent out last week. DiClemente was arguing that the bundled approach to cable TV–whereby subscribers get dozens or even hundreds of channels for one big fee, no matter how many networks they actually watch–wasn’t going anywhere for quite some time. If ever.

But if you’re the kind of person who thinks we’re headed for an a la carte model in which programmers compete directly for consumer dollars, you can use this as fodder for your argument. Because you can see just how much you’re paying for stuff you don’t want.

[Click here to view the chart]

Obviously these are wholesale prices, not retail. But this gives you a very good idea of where the money goes–to a lot of channels you likely never, ever, look at.

You’ll find this particularly upsetting if you don’t watch sports. Because sports channels account for about 40 percent of cable fees.

And you’ll also be upset once you realize that the broadcast networks–GE’s (GE) NBC, News Corp.’s (NWS) Fox, Disney’s (DIS) ABC and CBS (CBS)–are going to get added to this list over the next year or so. Even though anyone who doesn’t pay for cable gets them for free.




  1. ArianeB says:

    People don’t want a la carte channels, they want a la carte TV SHOWS.

    I have a computer with WMC and a TV card (free DVR service), an XBOX360 with Media Extender, PlayOn and Netflix, and an Apple TV box. I have no cable or any other pay TV service. Combining what I pay for Netflix and iTunes, its around $30 a month.

    So for a third of the price of cable, I can watch what I want, when I want, and mostly commercial free.

  2. ECA says:

    iF YOU REALLY THINK ABOUT IT..
    Cable could run 1 line to each town, and just AIR broadcast to the 10 miles around it, ALL the channels they wanted.
    BUT, then they wouldnt get money.

    Its cheap and simple, but they wouldnt do it.

  3. chris says:

    #42 That is just too much like right!

  4. lens42 says:

    Normally I wouldn’t post just to echo what’s already been said, but in this case another vote is order. I too do not get cable. The combination of over the air, plus Netflix, plus other web content is all we need. So “a la Carte” *IS* here today. The first step in getting it is to fire your cable company. You’ll never regret it.