• TV Innovator Says Cable Can’t Last

    by  • August 22, 2013 • Cable Choice • 3 Comments

    “Cable is this great closed system, where 90% of subscribers support ESPN – which is only watched by 10%. Now, that’s a great little plot, so long as you can keep everyone inside.” So said TV pioneer Barry Diller recently; but Diller doesn’t think the current anti-choice system can last.

    Barry Diller is a true television pioneer. After getting his start by creating the ABC Movie of the Week, Diller went on to be CEO of Paramount Pictures Corporation. With Diller at the helm, the studio produced hit television programs such as Laverne & Shirley, Taxi, and Cheers  and the movies Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Beverly Hills Cop, among others. Later, he was CEO of Fox, and helped launch the Fox broadcast network. Currently, he runs Expedia, and has started a new venture called Aereo, a means by which subscribers can watch over-the-air broadcast TV on their cellphones and other portable devices.

    The cable industry has bitterly opposed Aereo, with Fox and CBS going so far as to claim that, if Diller’s idea is successful, they will shut down their over-the-air channels and become available only via cable. But the feisty Diller refuses to back down; and in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, he was asked if he thought Aereo could break up the entertainment industry’s cable bundling scheme. Diller answered:

    “I think it’s going to bust on its own. I’ve felt that for a long time…I think that young people who don’t now subscribe to cable are going to maybe think of Aereo as an alternative, because they don’t like cable. They see no reason to pay $100 a month for things they mostly don’t watch. But they like watching sports and live events and all these other kinds of things that broadcast television does so well.”

    When everyone from Charter Cable CEO Tom Rutledge to TV innovator Barry Diller says customers are tired of paying for something they never use and that the current bundling system is crumbling, the entertainment industry might be wise to listen.



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    3 Responses to TV Innovator Says Cable Can’t Last

    1. Connie
      August 24, 2013 at 8:32 am

      I think it is critical for our culture that we break the Media Cartel’s bundling system. Most of the culturally degrading garbage which is forced in to our homes in the cable bundle could not survive in a free market. Media currently does not reflect our culture it reflects the mindset and tastes of a few, apparently depraved old men who run the Media Cartel.

      • Dana
        August 26, 2013 at 9:24 am

        “Media currently does not reflect our culture it reflects the mindset and tastes of a few, apparently depraved old men who run the Media Cartel.”

        Also the fratboys of the preferred demographic: Alpha males aged 18-35!

    2. William Hughes
      August 23, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      A house divided against itself CANNOT STAND! The Price of Pay-TV (That’s Cable, Satellite and Telco for those of you in Rio Linda) continues to rise, while the quality of what’s being shown does nothing but head south. I’ve NEVER seen a company use this practice and stay in business for long. I’ve seen legions of businesses, many of which USED to be household names do this and where are they now? They’re just dust in the wind. Whenever someone realizes they are not getting as much “Bang for the Buck’ as they used to they do one of two things,

      A. Purchase the product from another, cheaper source.

      B. Replace that product with something else.

      Next month will mark the seventh anniversary of my decision to “Cut the Cord” having got fed up with what I was seeing on Pay-TV.

      I was spending $65.00 a month when I dropped cable, today it would cost me over twice as much to receive the same service. I do not miss it at all. Since January of 2007 I’ve used my $65.00 to purchase my programming on DVDs, lots and lots and lots of them. I have amassed so many Movies, TV Shows and other programming that at the rate of fours of viewing each evening it will take me over 20 years before I’m forced to watch “reruns”!

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