retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal about the moves by companies such as HBO and CBS to un-hitch their entertainment offerings from traditional media vehicles and allow views to watch them online, via streaming technology … therefore giving them greater access and power over what they pay for.

That said, the Journal writes, such an evolution won't necessarily save people money:

"Cord-cutters should be careful what they wish for. A future where television viewers subscribe to each channel individually could be cheaper for young people who only watch two or three channels, industry executives said. But analysts say that for households filled with people of differing tastes or fans of many channels, this future could make the average cable TV bill—which hovers at around $90—seem like a bargain."

You can read the entire piece here.
KC's View:
I got a lot of email on this one last week, and I'm not surprised. I certainly think it is possible that people who decide to buy a la carte could end up paying more … but let's not forget that HBO and CXBS are not abandoning their traditional ways of making programming available to people. They're just adding a new method on the premise that for some people, it'll make more sense.

When it gets to that point, I'd certainly be willing to do the math and see which approach makes more sense. I suspect it'll be most attractive to people in the 18-30 age group, and maybe again to people 55+ … since they'll have needs different from mainstream families for whom broadcasting is an answer to a specific set of desires.

The larger lesson should not be forgotten - that consumers want to have the power to choose, and businesses are being compelled to address this demand.