The nation’s largest cable provider is joining the scramble to offer “skinny” bundles…but will family networks suffer as a result?
Increasingly, cable and satellite subscribers are becoming sick and tired of the cable “bundling” scam, through which customers are forced to buy dozens of channels they never watch, don’t want, and may even find offensive – especially given the cable industry’s incessant price hikes. Earlier this month, Bloomberg News reported that cable fees are going up again. So it’s no surprise that many customers are dropping cable and watching TV programs via the Internet.
With more and more viewers “cutting the cord,” the huge cable and internet companies are desperately scrambling to meet at least a few of customers’ complaints. Last week, it was reported that Comcast-NBCUniversal, the nation’s largest cable and internet provider (and also the company with the worst customer service in America) moved several channels – among them Spike, CMT, and POP (formerly the TV Guide Channel) to premium tiers.
While it is unlikely that anyone will miss Spike’s non-stop marathons of Cops and World’s Wildest Police Videos, or POP’s steady diet of soap operas and alleged comedies like Schitt’s Creek, it is unfortunate that CMT viewers will be deprived of country music and family-friendly programming like Reba by this move.
Indeed, such a move points to the hypocrisy of the vast conglomerates like Comcast that control broadcast and cable networks, cable and satellite distribution, and Internet availablity. These conglomerates choke cable systems with dozens of networks (all owned by themselves), forcing viewers to buy them in a bundle, while a small number of truly independent, family-friendly networks like INSP, UP, Hallmark Channel, RFD-TV, Ovation, and others, are frequently boosted into “premium” tiers or dropped altogether.
The PTC has long crusaded for Cable Choice – the right of the consumer to purchase only those channels a viewer wants to watch, rather than be shackled to a bundle. But if the cable conglomerates ARE going to offer a bundle, it should be a fair one – one from which smaller networks are not excluded, and one run with true regard for the desires of its customers, not the benefit of the media oligarchy.