Monday, September 13, 2010

Viewers Prefer Local News And Miss Local Cable Companies

I read this short article today and it reminded me of what cable distribution initially meant. As people seem to prefer local news, cable was meant to be your local distributor. Municipalities would take bids and select their local cable provider in exchange for local channels and production facilities. Just check down in the lower numbers of your cable line-up for those channels. Yes they are still there. And cable companies built local offices manned by local management to respond to local issues. And they marketed their local presence as something unique, that the telephone company couldn't do.

Today, cable distributors have consolidated their management operations into regional or divisional levels. Most decision making has gone even higher into the corporate building. There seems to be no more local and cable distributors have opted to copy the telephone model today instead of differentiating from it. The local manager no longer exists; in fact, those local buildings may now simply be call centers or warehouses with no General Manager in attendance. Consolidation is king.

As for the story of local news still number one. people still live in neighborhoods and still want to know as much about what is going on outside their front door as in their state, country, and world. Local may have been a buzzword for the early days of cable, but local still does matter.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, I'm about to cut the cable/telco video umbilical and go to a 100% online, on-demand solution. After $100-300 for equipment (depending on whether I buy something like Roku or Apple TV, or a higher-end WiFi-enabled BluRay player with internet video) the monthly cost of Netflix and Hulu Plus will be $75 less than my monthly cable TV bill.

    This is because I won't have to pay $4 a month for the ESPN I never watch, but which is bundled into my cable service.

    I'm not going to pay for World Fishing Network, ABC Family, Maverick, WGN, or those low-quality filler channels they license from Byron Allen like Recipe.TV.

    I'm going to pay for Hulu Plus to get my Glee, Cougar Town, Desperate Housewives (for the wife), Stargate Universe, etc.

    Hopefully, by next June when Season 4 of True Blood comes on, HBO will have come to their senses, because we'll buy/rent it for a buck an episode.

    But even if we spend 6-7 bucks a week on renting/buying shows on top of the $18.98 a month for the Hulu/Netflix combo, we'll still come out $500 a year ahead of cable. We'll get most, if not all of our favorite shows and we can get local news from the web.

    You can't argue with those economics.