Ala Carte channels

I am not sure forcing cable companies to force customers into selecting channels ala carte is going to do much to make our lives easier. Yes, it may seem like a great idea. Why should I pay for the gardening channel or the obscure education channel that I never ever watch?

However, the reality is a bit more complex. One of my pet peeves is this push from companies to make consumers do everything themselves. I believe this self-service model sounds good but puts too much pressure on generally uninformed consumers who end up making the wrong decisions.

Think about it -- in the model we have today -- the companies build 3 or 4 plans and I choose one of them. This model is easy, convenient and looking at the plans for 2-3 minutes is enough to help you make a decision. The flip side is that you end up paying too much -- subsidizing channels you will never watch. The proposed model will make you go through all the hundreds of channels and select the ones you like. Each is probably going to have a different price. It is going to be a true Chinese menu problem. The proposed advantage is that you will probably end up paying much less overall because you get away selecting just 10 of the 200 channels. The problem is that there is nothing to force the cable companies to charge 10 bucks each for the most common channels and the other problem is that niche channels or the independent channels will probably just die. So, over the years we will not only have a few channels we will actually have very few channels to choose from.

From my perspective -- I don't want the hassle of picking and choosing individual channels. Give me my packages -- I have a hard time picking a pasta from a list of 4. Don't make me pick 50 channels out of 300.