It’s Time For A New Business Model

If you’ve read anything here recently, you know I ditched all my Rogers.com services over the last six months, after seventeen years as a customer. I’ve replaced internet with Distributel, my phone/wireless with Wind Mobile, and my cable with… Nothing.

Why nothing?

Well, because I finally figured out I was paying $120 a month for cable TV, for 500+ channels. WHen I watch six to eight of them regularly.

SPACE, SPEED, SportsNet, BBC Canada, DiY Network, HGTV, LIFE Network, and I think the GF would ike MTV for.. ugh.. Jersey Shore.

What that breaks down to, for me, is I’m paying fifteen dollars per channel.

That’s insane.

I mean, I realize it makes good sense for the provider. They bundle channels so you have to buy all the bundles, and they can sell advertisers based on ‘people bought this channel’ even though they didn’t buy that channel, they bought the bundle that channel is in, so they could have the channel they wanted. And I know for sure, just by looking at the bundles, that these aren’t built for customer convenience, but to maximize the number of bundles sold (seriously? Speed, TSN, TSN2, and SportNet are each in DIFFERENT BUNDLES???), but I don’t give a shit anymore.

I have Netflix. Netflix, even in Canada, is wonderful. It’s BS we don’t get the ‘good stuff’, Ie. Due to licensing, NetflixUSA gets a far, far superior selection to us, even though ours is improving, and don’t even get me started on the lack of availability of HULUPlus, etc.

But I want the even-further-upstream-providers to give their heads a shake. Because they’re missing out on a market completely. The “don’t pay for cable anymore” market.

I would pay HBO eight bucks a month to subscribe to a streaming service. A streaming service which, by the way, they already have. But I can’t.

Regarding HBO GO: HBO GO is now available in the Android Market and the service is free of charge for HBO subscribers (As Sean mentioned, you can’t purchase the service standalone) .

Regarding HBO Canada ONLINE: Watch Anytime, Anywhere (Select your Cable or Satellite Service Provider)

So, let me get this straight.

You have a streaming service I would be willing to PAY FOR.

You only provide that streaming service to people who are already paying for the channel, on cable, through a satellite or cable provider.

You won’t provide that streaming service to people willing to pay for it, who don’t have cable and don’t want to pay a cable or satellite provider for a service they don’t want.

And you wonder why people download your shows.

Want to know the answer to that last bit?

It’s because YOU REFUSE TO SELL IT TO THEM.

I’m not paying $100 a month ($1200/year) to watch ten episodes of Game of Thrones. I love the show, but I don’t love it that much. I would, however, pay eight bucks a month, same as I pay for netflix, to get HBO Streaming on my computer, xbox, boxee, Playstation3, etc, etc. TOTALLY. And you, HBO (and others, they’re not the only ones guilty of this) would get MORE SUBSCRIBERS. That’s… that’s what you want, right?

Right now, though, you’ll give it away for free, if I pay someone else for access to something I don’t want, but you won’t sell it to me directly?

How does that make sense, as a business model?

It’s a serious question. I’d love to get an answer.

And I’m by no means the only one asking the question, or even predicting it. Hell, there’s even a Twitter Campaign at takemymoneyhbo.com. I said $10, by the way. But really, it’d depend on just how much content is available. I might consider more if the content is good enough. And the combination of that, and Netflix would still be only 25% of what I was paying the cable company to NOT have the things I really want.

Like I said, it’s not just HBO who needs to get on this. I’d pay for streaming of things like SPEED, or an online-only “RaceTV” channel, but again, it doesn’t stop there. There’s probably a couple of individual network channels I’d pay for too.

I understand there’s more too it than that. But at the end of the day, the consumer will rule the roost. And it’s all well and good that the networks and the like get paid by the cable companies to host their channel, and vice versa. But that only works if people are still willing to pay for it.

There is another option, after all. I may go back to cable if they’d offer a la carte. Gimmie 8 ‘basic’ channels (here in Ontario, that’d be something like, a choice of 8 from the “under channel 90” group) for a single fee, to make it worth their while to pipe service to your house. Then, other channels set their cost to what people are willing to pay. I’d pay $35 a month for G4TV, HGTV, SPEED, TSN, SportsNet, BBCCanada, SPACE, and HBO. Hell, Rogers was trying something like this out in Toronto: I told them on the phone when I cancelled my services, expand that a la carte option to Ottawa, and make it a real thing, with no BS, and you’ll get my money again.

What I’m mostly saying is “we need another option”. The cable companies don’t run the show any more: between DVD sales coming sooner and sooner after the release of a show, online streaming that’s already available from Networks, for free, and, yes, DOWNLOADING, it’s time to abandon a model that is, lets face it, built around “let’s fuck the customer out of every dollar we can”.

That option may be pay-for-service on individual channels in a streaming format, it may be a la carte cable and satellite. It may be something else. I know what it isn’t. It isn’t 500 channels of nothing on, and a hundred-and-twenty dollar cable bill every month. Because, quite honestly, HoneyBadger Don’t Give A Shit anymore.

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