Issue Overview

Keeping It Affordable

Cable’s method of delivering programming networks via packages – with channels grouped into a wide variety of basic and premium tiers – is what makes the programming we all want possible. Beyond providing the ability to create popular niche content, revenue created by cable’s tiered ecosystem is what allows networks to invest in ground-breaking, production-rich programming.

A number of organizations have examined the idea of implementing an “a la carte” system with channels priced and ordered individually rather than from a tailored bundle. At first blush, a channel-by-channel pricing system seems logical. 

However, a la carte would destroy a model that produces the best TV available anywhere in the world, forcing viewers to lock in their programming choices in advance, and depriving them of the ability to easily explore new shows and networks.

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Our Position

  • If
  • Then

a la carte were mandated

  • Diminished quality programming

  • Smaller network budgets

  • Reduced program choices
  • Less program discovery
  • Less perceived value


Assessment

Interactive Time Line

537

The number of national program networks created between 1980 through 2006.

  • 1971
    71

    September 8, 1971

    USA

  • 1972
    72

    HBO

  • 1976
    76

    December 17, 1979 

    TBS

    WGN Network

  • 1976
    76

    Nickelodeon

    March 19, 1979

    CSPAN

    September 7, 1979

    ESPN

     

  • 1980
    80

    January 25, 1980

    BET

    June 1, 1980

    CNN

    Bravo

  • 1982
    82

    Headline News

    The Weather Channel

  • 1983
    83

    CMT: Country Music Television

    Disney Channel

  • 1984
    84

    A&E

    AMC

    February 1, 1984

    Lifetime

  • 1985
    85

    June 17, 1985

    Discovery Channel

  • 1988
    88

    TNT

  • 1990
    90

    E! Entertainment

  • 1992
    92

    Cartoon Network
    Syfy

  • 1993
    93

    Food Network

  • 1994
    94

    Bloomberg TV
    Fox Movie Channel
    FX
    HGTV
    IFC
    Outdoor Channel
    Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
    VH1

  • 1995
    95

    Golf Channel
    History Channel

  • 1996
    96

    Animal Planet
    ESPN News
    MSNBC
    MTV2
    Science Channel
    Sundance Channel
    TV Land

  • 1998
    98

    BBC America

    BET Gospel

    Biography Channel

    CMT Pure Country

    Style Network

    VH1 Soul

  • 1999
    99

    NBA TV
    Noggin

  • 2000
    00

    CNBC World
    Oxygen
    VH1 Classic

  • 2001
    01

    ABC Family
    Adult Swim
    Hallmark Channel
    WEtv

  • 2002
    02

    BET Hip Hop
    G4
    MTV Hits
    MTV Jams
    VH1 Mega Hits

  • 2003
    03

    CBS College Sports Network
    Spike TV
    Fuse
    Fuel
    NFL Network

  • 2004
    04

    January 19, 2004

    TVOne

  • 2005
    05

    Current TV
    The Africa Channel
    Hallmark Movie Channel
    HD News
    Military Channel
    Military History Channel
    Sprout

  • 2006
    06

    BBC World News

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