Paying For Individual TV Programs: Can The Super Bowl Be Far Behind?

Apparently traditional TV, time-shifted TV, and over-the-top (OTT) services aren’t enough: People will pay additionally for single TV movies/programs/sports events -- presumably either ad-free or with limited advertising.

In a Hub Research April survey, 20% of respondents aged 16-64, who have watched TV programs/movies online on any device, say they have paid for separate programs/movies. This figure was up from 16% levels achieved in 2013 and 2014.

Is this the true a la carte world many have talked about?

New OTT services like Sling TV, CBS All Access, HBO Now, Sony’s Playstation Vue, and others offer “skinny” programming packages with pseudo a-la-carte options, but not individual programs.

For sure, this is good news for traditional pay TV providers, whose . revenues from traditional packages continue to drift lower.  But it may also signal perhaps another opportunity for niche businesses to find new viewers.



This isn’t news for the likes of WWE, with its big events from Wrestlemania or big boxing promoters.  They have been making money with now-quaint-looking pay-per-view channels for a couple of decades.

Back in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, TV analysts were blue-skying the business, touting that one day we could see the Super Bowl on pay-per-view.  People scoffed at that. Over-the-air TV proponents believe that would never happen; today that sentiment continues.

But analyst also said the once-powerful ABC show  “Monday Night Football” would never go to cable. However, that show moved to ESPN at the same time “Sunday Night Football” started up on NBC. And previous prognostications were forgotten.

Considering the way some feel about traditional TV ads, maybe we are getting close to transitioning to single events that consumers will pay for, with limited or no advertising.

Will that model work for the Super Bowl? Sounds incredible, but maybe there’s just a few more years to go before it will  -- and maybe you won’t even notice.

2 comments about "Paying For Individual TV Programs: Can The Super Bowl Be Far Behind?".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, June 22, 2015 at 2:01 p.m.

    I'm sure it seems to be splitting hairs, but an argument could be made that Monday Night Football did not really "go to cable." It simply traded places (and switched to NBC) with the ESPN cable NFL football game on Sunday night prior to 2006. There was no net loss. The end result is that there is still a broadcast NFL game at night. In fact, now there are nearly two per week, since 2014, counting Thursday on CBS, but ABC is definitely on the outside looking in.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, June 22, 2015 at 8:12 p.m.

    Understand what you are saying, but I wouldn't hold my breathe on that one even in a few years. The blow back would be worse than TSwift to Apple.

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