Are ESPN, Fox Sports And NBC Sports And Others Now Worried About 'A la Carte' Programming?

TV consumers are getting seemingly what they have always wanted from many old and new businesses: lots of programming choice.

Now, a more traditional pay TV provider, Verizon FiOS, has decided to join the race -- but as part of its existing business. ESPN, Fox Sports 1, NBC Sports and others maybe have a different point of view.

While not completely moving to “a la carte” programming, Verizon FiOS “Custom TV” plan essentially allows traditional TV customers to break down their big 100 to 250 channel packages in groups of 10 to 17 networks for $10 a month apiece.

Sounds like Verizon wants to give consumer want they want -- believing higher business will be the result.

But traditional networks -- some more niche than others -- believe this goes too far. That Verizon has no right to do this according to their existing contracts: They want to be part of one big cable package.



We all know what this can mean -- less national TV coverage for ESPN, Fox, and NBC Sports.  And that means less national coverage for those TV advertisers who traditionally still buy networks for their “national TV” buy.

If Verizon is indeed finding a way to break their traditional TV distribution agreements, other pay TV providers, including cable and satellite TV businesses, will want to do the same.

National TV advertising? Will that still be a thing a decade or two down the road? All this may not matter -- not if true addressable TV advertising systems are able to precisely target audiences, all which could mean higher ad rates for those specific, targeted viewers.

But we are long way from that. ESPN and others get monetized by advertisers because they can deliver the potential of 90% and 95% of U.S. TV households.

National cable sports networks would want to make this an issue -- which have been targeted by many groups as being one of the key reasons true la carte programming efforts have been stymied.

It’s a big numbers game; a national TV scale still rules. When will it change -- or should it?

2 comments about "Are ESPN, Fox Sports And NBC Sports And Others Now Worried About 'A la Carte' Programming?".
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  1. Bobby Calise from Horizon Media, Inc., April 23, 2015 at 10:06 a.m.

    I don't know how the prices ultimately stack up, FIOS vs. TWC vs. Cablevision, but this is a step in the right direction. A rare case of a cable dispute potentially benefitting the customer!

  2. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, April 23, 2015 at 4:05 p.m.

    The Emperors are only losing their Clothing. What me worry?

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