Cable customers pay $5.54 a month for ESPN whether they want it or not


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Yet cable is still the best deal in $/Mbit/s terms. I hate subsidizing TV companies when I never even hooked up my cable for TV, but DSL is a quarter the speed for the same price and business Ethernet is a tenth of the speed for quadruple the price.

I know I had Comcast internet once with no TV or phone, and they offered me a reduction on what I paid each month if I added TV to my package. I almost did it, despite not owning a TV at the time, but couldn’t be bothered.

The only TV I do watch is sports, but I’d happily swap ESPN in return for Willow TV.

This is why every so often you will hear someone make a rumbling about a-la-carte Cable TV service. Their proposal will be shot down almost instantly by all of the companies that make money on the current model though. It’s also why I think Cable is digging itself deeper and deeper into a hole and in 10 years will be in the same place that POTS is now. They’re so worried about profit margins that they’re ignoring their customers and falling behind the curve.

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It seems to me that in any sort of rational market, with competently-run businesses, Disney would be forced to turn ESPN into something that a) more people would actually want to watch or b) the people who do want to watch it would be willing to pay $15 a month extra for. This is really just Disney and ESPN admitting they have no idea how to run a business & asking for more $$ to subsidize their own failures.


People still pay for cable TV?

I like quality shows, but by not getting any cable, ever, I can take the thousands and just buy DVDs or watch it on iTunes or, really, anything other than forking over buckets of cash every month only to get 1/4 of my time utterly wasted with commercials.


ESPN has held its place the top 3 most watched cable channels (along with Disney) for a very long time. While I watch neither, I don’t think it’s the case that they don’t know what people want, or that this bundling is an act of desperation.

That’s funny, since ESPN and Fox Sports is all that we actually want out of our cable. So in reality we’re paying $80/month for ESPN, not $5.54. We just get a bunch of crap that we never watch.

We’d be HAPPY to spend $15/month to stream ESPN to the Roku box or something.

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So, if they weren’t allowed to bundle, ESPN would be more expensive for people who do want it; because they would no longer be subsidized by people who don’t.

Isn’t the idea that this is an argument in favor of bundling downright socialist communism by the standards of American political discourse? Surely a polity that loaths subsidizing sickies and poor people should also loath subsidizing other people’s access to cable sports?

(Also, for a channel as popular as ESPN, a near-tripling of price without bundling sounds suspiciously like Hollywood accounting…)


Every time ‘Premium Content’ is allowed to get filthy, filthy, internet on it, a pirate gets his eyepatch. The MPAA told me that it’s even worse than VCRs…

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Here’s an idea, stop watching TV. Turn your cable off, save money, and do something important.


Doesn’t ESPN show commercials and is wildly popular? I smell a rat.

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As a cable subscriber here, I can say it’s been probably 5 years since I watched a full commercial (other than during the Superbowl, I suppose, or the occasional time when I’m watching some other sports event or other show live, like the news). PVRs have fully eliminated any and all commercials for me. I could probably be a cord cutter, and just grab all my stuff from torrents (or go legit and use something like iTunes, though I’m not sure how good iTunes is for the TV I want to watch, at least up here in Canadia - last I checked, some shows like Game of Thrones were basically not available legitimately as they aired unless you had cable). But there are some aspects of the cable experience that are handy for me, and so here I am, a (mostly) happy cable subscriber.

I find this less appalling than being forced to pay any amount of money to have Fox News on my cable system.


Bundling cable internet with cable TV is a completely separate issue—yet equally frustrating.

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Cut the cord. We did recently. I was struck by just how toxic TV viewing is when I went on a trip and was forced to watch tournament poker in an airport waiting area recently. After a year of only on-demand service, I was struck with just how incredibly jarring advertising is. Sure, I don’t get the latest and greatest, but it’s totally worth it. I can always torrent something if I can’t wait.


Why is this not regarded as socialism ? We are being forced to pay even if you do not want ESPN and this accomplishes two vile things - 1) subsidies the true cost for those viewers who actually do want ESPN 2) ensures ESPN gets a piece of every satellite or cable invoice in the country. The fact that this type of involuntary bundling is still occurring is disturbing enough, - the fact that if you had to pay for only the channels you want and watch could significantly lower your monthly payment and nothing has been done thus far by governmental regulators is disgusting. My monthly premium for the privilege to watch
some of the crap that they put on TV is ridiculous at $150+. Even the damn History channel is a joke now…Ancient Freaking Aliens - Really ??? There are more channels on trying to sell you some garbage than there has ever been , Heck even the local channels don’t play movies on Sunday - After the “news” ( and I use the term “news” very loosely) its nothing but a sea of infomercials until what ever seasons sporting event takes over the airwaves.I’d be overly happy to pay for the 15 to 20 channels I actually want.

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As others have said, don’t fucking watch tv. It’s that simple. It is not an essential part of being alive. One could argue that you can’t really function in society without the internet; one cannot say the same about tv. I’ve never owned a tv set. I’ve never paid for cable. I am quite happy without it- and much less poor.

It’s hard to be sympathetic to any complaints about big cable companies when the answer has been there forever- don’t give them your money if you don’t like what they do. End of problem!


Maybe, just maybe mind you, ESPN wouldn’t cost so much if I didn’t have like 37 channels of ESPN on my damn lineup! Seriously, the only other group that outnumbers ESPN are the PPV channels.

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As Mike mentioned above, we still need Internet access. In my area that means cable or DSL. DSL wants me to bundle with a landline, it is basically the same cost whether I actually use the landline or not. My Internet basically subsidizes my cable so I get pretty much every channel for $20/month. I would love to cut the cord too, but until I can get non-bundled internet access for a reasonable cost, it really would not save me much money.