Back in the old days, you used to have three channels to choose from – NBC, ABC and CBS. Well, now you have LOTS of channels. Hundreds. You might think you have more choices – but you don’t.
See, 7 giant companies control more than 70% of the cable channels on TV. Disney, Time Warner, News Corp., the Comcast NBC Universal conglomerate, Viacom, CBS and Discovery. What’s left? Not much.
And these companies rely heavily on their cable channels too – 60-90% of profits for these 6 companies come from their cable TV properties.
But it’s not just the channels. It’s also the companies that control the TV channel line-ups. 68% of the 100 million households with cable are controlled by 4 companies: Comcast, again (21 million), Direct TV (20 million), DISH Network (14 million), and Time Warner Cable (13 million).
If you add in the next five biggest cable providers, Charter (5 million), Cox (5 million), AT&T U-Verse (5 million), Verizon Fios (5 million) and Cablevision (3 million), you have 9 corporations making 91% of the decisions when it comes to what YOU see.
So – so what? Well, when one of the giant content companies has a new channel they want added to the pay TV channel line-ups, they can threaten to take all their other channels off as a way to force their way on. Which means consumers don't really have a say in what is on - and more importantly, NOT on - your channel line up.
Or, let's say your giant TV provider decides they don’t want to carry a channel that you want and would happily pay for. Since there are so few choices among TV providers, you might not be able to find another outlet to turn to that carries the channel you want, or you'll have to pay big termination fees.
You have a few giant content companies and a few giant TV providers making giant amounts of money – and what YOU actually want barely plays into the process.
So – how does a little channel - independent – not affiliated with a giant corporation, break through?