Are Cable Operators Warming Up to A-La-Carte Model?

Today’s customers no longer want to pay for channels they don’t watch, which has driven the majority of them into the hands of over-the-top (OTT) providers such as Amazon and Hulu. As a result, there’s been a lot of talk about operators moving toward a-la-carte television programming. But is a-la-carte programming the answer to cable providers prayers? Will it save them from being pushed out by OTT providers?

According to a new study from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 44 percent of consumers would like a total a-la-carte system, while 73 percent prefer a-la-carte or more customized packages compared to what’s already available. If given an a-la-carte option, consumers said they would mostly likely subscribe to 10 or more channels, the most popular being basic cable followed by premium cable, sports, lifestyle, news, and children’s programming.“Despite the lowly amounts that surely would be dismissed as unfeasible by distributors and content providers alike, TV executives would be wise to note the popularity of the a la carte concept,” said PwC entertainment, media and communications analyst Matthew Lieberman.

Just recently, the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology released a draft bill called the “Video CHOICE Act” similar to the bill introduced into the U.S. Senate by Sen. John McCain, which moved to ensure that cable/satellite customers can choose which channels they pay for.

While in the past, this concept was taboo among cable operators, that’s not necessarily the case today. More cable operators are rethinking their past opposition on the matter, realizing that if they don’t change their programming platform they will undoubtedly continue to lose customers.