OK, that’s heresy.
And, OK, it won’t work technically … right now.
And, OK, it would look like caving in to a one-trick-pony Federal Martin(et) playing telecom morals marshal.
And, OK, who wants to look as desperate as Mel Karmazin?
And, OK, it won’t work contractually, either. For now.
And, OK, it would destroy a working financial model…
And, OK, any transition would take years…
So? Bear with me, here.
On the other hand, it would also face some realities…
Like the marketplace.
Like being like Schumpeter … that is, getting ahead of the game, not behind it.
Like the chance to rethink — from the operator’s, programmer’s and consumer’s points of view — the whole enchilada (or burrito or wrap or goulash or casserole or whatever).
Maybe, just maybe, our model is broken and we don’t yet know it.
Maybe it’s a way to rethink how the Federal Confusion Commission shouldn’t be involved at all.
Maybe it’s a way to rethink how the ROI on the different services/programs offered by cable really behave.
Now that "cable" isn’t simply a video stream delivery platform maybe the time is past due to rethink the entire model.
There aren’t any simple solutions here, but maybe — just maybe — it’s time to tell the world that a la carte isn’t an answer to anything more than wishful thinking. Still, perhaps the industry should "study" the issue with the caveat — the honest caveat, by the way — that it will take years to figure out.
But it is on the table for study.
A la carte isn’t the answer to everything…just ask the newspaper industry. And even separate pricing online for what a newspaper delivers in bulk (all those sections, you know) isn’t the answer … just ask The New York Times or watch what News Corp. does with The Wall Street Journal.
But maybe, just maybe, some variation is a part of a remodeling of cable offerings … say five years out.
Worth thinking about.
Worth taking a closer look at how cable’s subscribers use their varying services and offerings.
Worth thinking through any possible competitive advantages that some cable technical or marketing thinker hasn’t yet hit upon.
Worth — most of all — taking the issue off the table by embracing it.