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A Hundred Channels and Ninety of Them Stink
By: Mike Bush
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For years, there has been an arms race between cable providers to offer more channels. When you peruse the websites of cable providers, you are whisked away to a land where there appears to always be something on for everyone, and almost everyone’s choice of what to watch comes in HD.
But…I suspect that my choice to watch mid-major college basketball might not align with most of the folks reading this post. Those folks might be interested in the news, or another sport, or cooking shows, or reality TV (word on the street is that one of our contributors has a real passion for Keeping up with the Kardashians).
And that’s also not to say I am ONLY interested in watching mid-major college basketball. But, if asked, I’m pretty sure that I could come up with a 10 channel TV package that covers every show and event I would want to see (and every show my wife would want to see as well).
Of course.. 10 channels is a LOT less than the 80+ or 160+ channel packages that Comcast (using them as an example, but they’re not alone in this) has built as bundles. This is simple math: I only want around 10 channels, so I don’t feel like I should have to pay for 160+ channels. It’s the reason I stopped being a cable subscriber years ago.
And now that the world’s longest introduction is complete, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am routing for Cablevision to win its lawsuit against Viacom. The Cable company is alleging unfair business practices, highlighting how Viacom, who provides content from the popular (Comedy Central) through the more obscure (Nick Toon) sells bundles of content. (I don’t have kids, so Nick Toon is pretty far off my radar).
While there’s speculation that this could be a ploy to negotiate more favorable terms, I’m genuinely hoping that Cablevision is able to break the bundle…and then promptly turns around and offers customers the Holy Grail of Cable TV: A La Carte Channel Selection.
If this comes to pass, it could have a dramatic effect on the PR world (quick, name a client who doesn’t like to see themselves on TV… yeah, didn’t think so). A la carte cable could mean that there are actually MORE channels available, with more specific focus for those channels. As Flacks, we likely explain the value of focusing on niche publications to our clients, and a la carte could create more niche programming (meaning more targeted audiences and more opportunities for niche companies).
At least, that’s the hope.
I’ll be watching for updates on the Cablevision v. Viacom lawsuit as the case progresses. I can only hope Cablevision is in it for the right reason.

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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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