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LR Poll: Bundles Begone!

Phil Harvey
2/24/2006

Not many are keen on having a phone company as their video provider, and all-in-one service bundles (phone, broadband, and video) may not be as big a deal to consumers as many believe, according to the latest Light Reading poll.

Nearly 60 percent of the respondents to the poll, Costly Cable, indicated that getting all communications services from one provider via a big bundle isn't important.

That's not good news to phone companies, which are counting on service bundles to help them provide a more complete offering than satellite TV providers and at a lower price than the cable MSOs. Speaking of buying services from cable providers, the poll had even more bad news for phone companies on that front.

Even though the poll's respondents said they felt cable prices were on the rise because of the lack of competition (53 percent) and greed (24 percent), only 21 percent said they would buy video content from a phone company, assuming the video quality were the same.

Instead, a full 31 percent of the poll takers said they'd prefer to buy video content from an Internet provider -- regardless of access method -- with the ability to store content on a local hard drive. That's even more than the 30 percent who say they would like to get their video service from cable providers.

But who gets to pick the channels? From the results so far, more poll takers want to pick their own channels instead of having their cable company choose programming packages for them.

But the poll's not over yet. You can still click here and cast your votes until midnight EST, on Monday, February 27.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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DPD
DPD
12/5/2012 | 4:05:02 AM
re: LR Poll: Bundles Begone!
Bundles won't be a big deal until the RBOC's & MSO's are competing on an even playing field, which is when they both a true quadruple play.

Only then will the MSO's (cable dudes) drop their prices. Eventually, we'll be paying $99/month for voice, video, data, and wireless. Did I say wireless? Yes I did. The cable guys will be offering wireless service. Verizon already does.

In 5 years there will be no difference between the Verizons & Comcasts of the world. Only then will it be a big deal.
DCITDave
DCITDave
12/5/2012 | 4:04:58 AM
re: LR Poll: Bundles Begone!
re: "In 5 years there will be no difference between the Verizons & Comcasts of the world. Only then will it be a big deal."

In 5 years VZ won't have all of its territory covered with video service. Unless it steps up the satellite resller deals or does something else in addition to FiOS.

ph
blackdiamond
blackdiamond
12/5/2012 | 4:04:55 AM
re: LR Poll: Bundles Begone!
One thing that is ignored in this conversation about video is that cable companies pay a ton of money in programming fees and competition on the service provider side is not going to reduce that charge. A pure unbundling of channels might make the subscriber bill go down when someone doesn't have to carry channels they don't want but the mariginal costs attached to a low rated station like MSNBC don't compare with ESPN.
telco1158
telco1158
12/5/2012 | 4:04:50 AM
re: LR Poll: Bundles Begone!
A la carte pricing is preferred if it actually reduces cost. I don't want to pay for services, channels that I'm not using, even if it's thrown in for "free." Think of when there's nothing to watch on the tube, when in fact there's 600+ channels at the ready. Bundling like services (additional channels of the same type of service) and unlike services (triple/quadruple play) would further dilute how much I'm paying for the services I actually want and use.

As a telecom professional, I see many reasons to bundle. Just to list a few: as a reseller, I can buy more services wholesale if I also sell wholesale (bundled). It dramatically simplifies my invoicing while keeping revenues from different lines steady. It is much easier to cross subsidize business lines, especially with new, weak or discontinuing services. Like Diamond's analogy of MSN and ESPN, one channel supports another, thus spreading the risk.

But as a consumer, I want control (choice and quality) and savings. Video from the same phone company that provides poor customer service? No thanks. It comes down to the phone companies' inability to sell bundling as a real value if the saavy consumer has alternatives.
DCITDave
DCITDave
12/5/2012 | 4:04:48 AM
re: LR Poll: Bundles Begone!
re: " Just to list a few: as a reseller, I can buy more services wholesale if I also sell wholesale (bundled). It dramatically simplifies my invoicing while keeping revenues from different lines steady. It is much easier to cross subsidize business lines, especially with new, weak or discontinuing services. Like Diamond's analogy of MSN and ESPN, one channel supports another, thus spreading the risk."

At this moment, I'm in favor of bundling, too.

The technology in the devices we use to consume digital content -- be it Verizon's FiOS TV menu or the Sirius S50 -- allow us to narrow our field of choices (block channels) easily enough.

I'm afraid that a la carte would somehow increase the per channel cost to the cable system or phone company, and that would get passed on to me.

ph
materialgirl
materialgirl
12/5/2012 | 4:04:47 AM
re: LR Poll: Bundles Begone!
Re: "As a telecom professional, I see many reasons to bundle. Just to list a few: as a reseller, I can buy more services wholesale if I also sell wholesale (bundled). It dramatically simplifies my invoicing while keeping revenues from different lines steady. It is much easier to cross subsidize business lines, especially with new, weak or discontinuing services. Like Diamond's analogy of MSN and ESPN, one channel supports another, thus spreading the risk.

But as a consumer, I want control (choice and quality) and savings. Video from the same phone company that provides poor customer service? No thanks. It comes down to the phone companies' inability to sell bundling as a real value if the saavy consumer has alternatives."

Everything in service of an inefficient business model. Nothing that meets the real needs of the consumer: easy access to novell content when and where they want it in their busy lives. This all results in a big fat pig for the GOOGs to stick their fork into. Who wants HDTV? What consumers want is more time and more control.
telco1158
telco1158
12/5/2012 | 4:04:45 AM
re: LR Poll: Bundles Begone!
Might be interested to know the FCC has officially changed its position that a la carte video actually LOWERS consumers' cost. Their previous report from '04 said just the opposite. Makes you wonder what other differences a change in the guard will uncover.

For the insomniacs, the original report is here: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs...

Press release on their new stance: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs...

The new report is much shorter than the old: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs...
DCITDave
DCITDave
12/5/2012 | 4:04:45 AM
re: LR Poll: Bundles Begone!
re: "Video from the same phone company that provides poor customer service? No thanks. It comes down to the phone companies' inability to sell bundling as a real value if the saavy consumer has alternatives."

Great points. I've failed to see where the savings are for folks who buy bundled services. As soon as introductory rates are over, the prices are usually as bad or worse than buying services individually.

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