If FARK.com were a TV channel

by

I’d watch it.

What’s the point? The FCC has just come out with an opinion that cable television consumers may be better off if they were allowed to purchase a la carte programming from their providers. The providers insist that programming diversity is fostered by being able to bundle smaller, less-well-known programming with things like NASCAR, championship wrestling, and OLN.

I can see the argument. But is there any way to stop the a la carte system from eventually being implemented? It just makes too much sense and has too much positive consumer sentiment behind it to not make its way into standard practice, by hook or by crook. Sooner or later some cable provider is going to succumb to consumer demand and offer up programming packages tailored to the individual whims of a household.

And why shouldn’t a TV programming guide work like a favorites file in your Web browser? Indeed, why shouldn’t TV programming work exactly like the WWW, where people seek out and subscribe to what they like, and the news about good “shows” is spread by word of mouth from one trusted friend or acquaintance to another? Television shows want to work like this. And someday, they will.

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2 Responses to “If FARK.com were a TV channel”

  1. Ryan Bedell Says:

    I agree that buying individual channels should be the way things work. What confuses me is why this debate is always framed around the minor channels. I don’t know how prevelant this is, but I know I NEVER watch ESPN and when I find out that they charge $2.25 a month per subscriber to the cable company I get livid.
    I want all the minor channels, they frequently have neat stuff on them, but once you facter in markup my cable bill would be $3.00+ cheaper without ESPN.
    Actually I want to eliminate channels entirely and just pay for shows. Or possibly groups of types of shows without regard for who makes them. But I guess that’s the WWW model for TV.

  2. nicheplayer Says:

    Surprising, isn’t it, that ESPN is owned by Disney? If there’s another company that’s done more to piss down the backs of consumers and tell them it’s raining, I’m unaware of it.

    I think there’s hope, though, in the form of a slightly bent computer CEO out in Cupertino, CA. Steve’s already got ABC providing TV content to the iTMS. Really, how long can it be now before “television” channels don’t really appear on television at all? You go to the Web site of “Network Z” and download whichever episode of whichever show you like. Include ads up front on the downloads for revenue, or plaster the site with ads.

    Web-based revenue streams for this new model shouldn’t be too difficult to divine. Consider, Jupiter Research estimates the U.S. online advertising market will grow 28 percent over last year, to $11.9 billion in 2005, moving to $13.6 billion in 2006 and $15.1 billion in 2007.

    There’s really a great confluence of technology advancement (Broadband, DVD burning, cheap HD storage, apps like Front Row, more efficient video and audio compression algorithms), consumer sentiment, and FCC awareness that’s going to make the next couple years a very interesting period for television as we’ve come to know it. Movies too.

    Thanks for the comment, Ryan.

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