Over the past decade, cable subscription costs have risen twice as fast as inflation, the NYT observes. Throw in Internet access and TV channels you actually want to watch, and you’re looking at a bill (for this SAI household) of more than $125 a month. (And if you want an inkling of how bad a business cable is, note that, despite this government-protected extortion, most cable stocks have been clobbered over the same period)
What are we actually getting for that $125?
- High-speed Internet access (nice)
- Baseball, football, and other games
- A couple of kids’ channels
- CNBC, CNN
In other words, web access and a modest amount of video programming…for $1,500 a year.
Do we have an option? Not really. FIOS is probably similarly expensive, especially after we finish amortizing that big-screen TV they’ll give us to switch.
We understand that these things shouldn’t be free, and we’re not asking for that. But here’s our offer to all you hungry entrepreneurs out there:
Find some way to get us the stuff above for $75 a month, and we’re yours.
We suspect the best solution will involve two providers:
- Pipe company, which delivers the equivalent of a TV/Internet dial-tone to the house for, say, $50 a month–equivalent to today’s electric and phone companies. Today’s “soup to nuts” cable service is a relic of the industry’s early days…similar to the years when Ford made all the parts that went into its cars. It’s high time that this end-to-end service got separated into “power,” “content,” and “devices.” Offer tiered pricing based on usage–that’s fine. We’re not part of that nutbag net-neutrality crowd who think HD-movie-downloaders should pay the same as occasional email users. (And offer us an unlimited option, of course.)
- Content subscription company–one that finds a simple, convenient, and consumer friendly way to deliver us the video content we want at prices that make sense. We don’t want 500 channels. We only want about 10. But we want to be able to pick them. And we only want to watch those 10 for an average of about an hour or two a week. Is this really such an extraordinarily hard problem for you entrepreneurs to solve? $25 a month to whoever figures it out. That’s way more than we’re currently paying for Netflix to handle part of this solution. Reed…figure out how to get a TV tuner in that little Roku box and we’ll quadruple our subscription.
And, yes, we’ll undoubtedly have to buy a box, too. Fine. Anything not to have to be chained forever to the extortion machine known as Time Warner Cable (TWC).
Solve this problem for us, entrepreneurs, and our money is yours. Get cracking!