What sparked the shift? Executives now seem to believe that unbundling is a necessary response to shifting market forces like higher
carriage costs, a weak economy, and, of course, the Web's increasing prominence.
Representative of the industry's woes, Comcast and Time Warner Cable -- the two largest operators -- collectively lost 1.2 million video customers over the past year (as of June, according to Reuters). An "a la carte" menu of programming would give consumers who are not sports fans, say, the freedom to drop high cost sports channels, such as ESPN from basic packages.