The option to save money on pay-TV service by choosing channels a la carte instead of paying for a package of channels that go mostly unwatched has been cable subscribers’ collective dream for years. Following comments from three cable company executives made during a panel at CES 2013, however, it appears as though an a la carte option will remain a dream for years to come.
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TechNewsDaily reports that executives from Verizon (VZ), DISH and Starz Media are all very aware that their subscribers don’t want to pay for channels they don’t watch, but pay-TV’s current subscription model is unlikely to change much over the next five years.
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DISH’s Dave Shull said that just two media companies account for roughly 50% of pay-TV providers’ content costs, and accounting for the unbalanced costs would be extremely difficult with an a la carte model. Shull thinks that “mini-packages” composed of related shows available for purchase on-demand are as close as the industry will get to an a la carte option.
The panelists did acknowledge that the high cost of cable is driving some customers to cancel their pay-TV service in favor of streaming options like Netflix (NFLX). Such services will never give customers access to premium content according to one executive, however, because an $8 monthly subscription isn’t enough to account for the expense of licensing top shows.
“That doesn’t leave any room for buying original content, which can cost as much as $4 million an episode to create,” Starz Media managing director John Penney said.
This article was originally published on BGR.com