How Low Can TV Packages Go?

Are we closer than ever to true “a la carte” live, linear network TV services?

While on-demand video platforms -- such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon -- thrive, consumers still like their more traditional pay TV services, ones that include live, linear TV networks.

A new poll -- from The Hollywood Report/Morning Consult -- asks directly: “How aordable do you think the following is in the United States -- cable television?” Some 56% said cable was either “not affordable at all” or “not too affordable.”

Around the same results -- 47% -- were revealed for satellite TV companies.

No surprise here.  (Who doesn’t want cheaper home entertainment?)

A key takeover comes from AT&T in considering even “skinnier” virtual pay TV packages -- perhaps in response to some noticeable slowing of subscribers for its digital live, linear pay TV service, DirecTV Now. The same slow-down activity is hitting other new digital services of live, linear networks, such as Sling TV.



How small can these services get?

Around $20 a month for the lowest-priced plans, which already seem bare bones. Maybe that isn’t enough. Philo, a low-cost package of cable networks sans sports channels, should be getting some attention. Philo is priced at $16 per month with additional channels at $4 each.

Seems like a good deal. But then we go back to the survey in which the top three-most-desired channels for consumers include movie networks (81%); local broadcast TV stations (78%); and entertainment/comedy channels (75%).  None come cheap for pay TV distributors. So profit margins are slim.

What about those big expensive sports TV networks? They ran in the middle of the pack: 55%. So there might be some savings there. The backers of Philo could point to this.

One would have to imagine then, something new could be coming.

How about a service called A La Carte Live TV? That has a good ring to it, when marketing against Prix Fix Live TV. In keeping with gastronomic-thinking, a marketing line could be: “Save the weight of high-caloric networks. Try Diet TV.”

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