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4 Reasons Why Wired’s Defense of Cable Bundling is Wrong

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1. It doesn’t meet the public’s needs. A lot of the cable cutters are leaving because cable’s programming has become redundant and doesn’t meet their needs. PBS has done a whole ad campaign bouncing off it. Cable is now high end trash, (It’s not porn, it’s HBO) and low end trash (500 imitators of Pawn Stars.)

When individuals have to subsidize a channel, there’s some incentive to give them what they want. Instead cable is now more of a ghetto than free TV used to be aiming square at a mass audience.

2. It advantages connected companies and encourages constant rebranding because bundling fees is a business model. There’s nothing equitable about that. Eliminating bundling would eliminate a lot of spam and low quality channels. It would have prevented things like the Current TV sale which should never have even been a thing. Instead bundling fees plus connections create a market in an otherwise worthless product that no one watches.

3. If channels had to survive on their own, cable would have a brighter future. Cable’s biggest challenge now is its image. It doesn’t speak to younger audiences who would rather go with Netflix or Hulu. Bundling fees maintain inertia. They make it easier to go on pursuing the same bad business model while destroying the industry ecosystem.

4. Bundling has no future. Yes, Hulu and Netflix still have their package deals, but they can get away with it because of overall content quality. Basic cable doesn’t have overall content quality. It’s an old business model and an old broadcast model tethered to prices that people no longer want to pay. The difference is perception, but it’s a big difference.

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