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There are three powerful forces that are shaping the cable TV industry. First, there is a powerful force coming from the owners and executives of cable TV networks. Second, there is an equally powerful force coming from the customers. Finally, technology is another important factor that is shaping the cable TV industry.
An overview of these three powerful forces will lead people to conclude that the multi-channel environment will remain the same for a very long time. If there are changes, it will translate to a more diversified multi-channel environment offering various types of customer driven niche (Medoff 67). Nevertheless, the cable TV will never become the perfect place that provides different types of quality content at a cheap price.
The multi-channel environment will never go away because company executives will cater to the demands of the subscribers. The viewing public will always demand for more diversity in programming. Therefore, the 100 channels in a typical cable subscription will become the norm in many parts of the world. At the same time, the owners and executives of cable TV networks will continually think of different ways to increase the company’s profitability.
Therefore, they will try to sell different types of products and services. In the present time, there is pay-per-view or TV-on-demand that allows cable operators to deliver specific content to a particular subscriber. In addition, cable operators, and network executives will do everything they can to increase sales. They will improve their product offerings based on available technology.
In an ideal multi-channel universe, the viewing pubic can have access to at least a hundred quality channels. In this environment the subscriber can a,ccess the best of everything. For example, a desirable package is something that offers top quality movies, the kind of programming that is similar to HBO, Cinemax and Star Movies. But, in the same package, one should be able to see high-quality news programs similar to CNN and BBC news.
The package must be interesting enough that it includes popular shows, but adds variety by incorporating informative channels that are similar to Discovery and National Geographic channel. This type of programming is a typical example of a premium cable subscription.
However, in order to make it truly interesting, there must be alternative programming that provides more positive information. For example, it is important to have a news channel that talks about the good things that are happening around the city or municipality.
Aside from news channels that sensationalize the news, it would be refreshing to have news channels that celebrate the achievements and struggles of ordinary people. It is common to hear about the rise and fall of politicians. It would be a breath of fresh air to hear the stories of ordinary people who experienced a major breakthrough in their lives. It would be great to hear personal triumphs of local entrepreneurs or inventors.
It is good to have shows that talk about the opinion of ordinary folks with regards to a particular issue. In the present time, when an issue is being discussed, the discussion focuses on a particular political ideology. It would be a breath of fresh air, if the discussions were not based on partisan politics. It would probably create a greater impact if the discussion revolves around the influence of a particular piece of legislation in the lives of ordinary people.
It is also good to have an alternative programming that enables people to access high quality content such as channels that talks about Mozart, Chopin, Picasso, Rembrandt, etc. It would be interesting to have channels that talk about organic farming or origami. It would be helpful if there were channels that connect people all over the world by providing information about different nations and diverse cultures.
Keep on Dreaming
The multi-channel environment will stay. However, the desire to see an alternative form of TV programming will remain a dream for a very long time. The major obstacle is the cost of producing quality shows.
TV executives will never finance an undertaking that will not translate to profit. It is a sound decision, because if there are only a few people who are going to watch a show that talks about origami, there is no way to recoup the investment. At the same time, they have to pay a significant number of professionals to produce high quality shows.
Without a doubt, there are plenty of shows out there that local cable operators can tap in order to improve their cable TV offering. However, local cable operators already spent a great deal of money securing the rights to broadcast expensive shows like HBO and ESPN. Therefore, there is little money left to pay for other high-quality content.
There is also a disturbing trend that can force cable operators out of business. Although, technology enables cable operators to offer more than 100 channels, consumers are demanding cheaper packages. Consumers believe that there are only a few shows that are worth watching; therefore, they complain, and then, they ask why they have to pay for the channels that they do not use.
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In order to create shows that provide high entertainment value, there is a need to ask the assistance of corporate sponsors. But the viewing public is not going to sit through a show loaded with paid TV ads. As a result, the audience uses different types of video recording strategies so that they can avoid watching TV commercials.
The multi-channel environment will remain, but there is little hope to see alternative programming that enables users to choose the information that they want to access. In the present time, the degree of freedom is limited to purchasing movies, concerts, and sports events that are on a pay-per-view basis. If the viewing public demands news channels with unbiased views, they have to go somewhere else to get it.
Part of the reason is the institutionalization of mass media. But on the other hand, the business aspect of the cable TV industry is also a major factor in the decision to limit the diversification of TV programming. Furthermore, the business is also driven by customer preferences. If there are many people who prefer to watch CSI Las Vegas or NCIS over informative shows like how to start an organic farm, the origami show will have to go.
One way to address the problem of diversity is to leverage the power of the Internet. Subscribers can purchase Smart TVs that are connected to the Internet. Thus, the subscriber can enhance their cable TV subscription with high-quality content that is accessible for free via video-sharing websites like YouTube. Aside from YouTube, there are various web videos to choose from.
Medoff, Norman. Electronic Media: Then, Now, and Later. Oxford, UK: Elsevier, 2011. Print.