How many channels do you watch?

This snippet from Robert Cringely’s recent post on multicasting and television struck a chord with me:

Internal audience studies at Comcast have shown that 90 percent of the customer base watches 10 percent of the available channels AND NOTHING ELSE. But Comcast can’t easily dump the underutilized channels people don’t watch because programming contracts with the studios require carriage and having a bunch of channels available that you never watch is part of the perceived value of the service we are paying for. Would you pay $50 per month for the seven channels you actually watch? Me neither.

This fits the 80/20 rule rather well, actually 90/10 here, most people watch the same things, and a limited number of things. Most people I ask watch 3-5 channels, whether the selection to choose from is 50 channels or 150 channels.Personally I cancelled my cable subscription because I found that I was not watching anything on television anymore, and it irked me that I needed to pay extra for premium channels.So while I would not pay $50/month for 80 channels (and more for premium channels), I would pay $50 to be able to choose the specific channels I want to watch.


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