Wouldn’t it be great if we could subscribe to only the television channels we want, rather than having to pay for a whole bunch of crap that we don’t?
Yes indeed, and people have been saying so for ages. This year, it’s either finally going to happen – or there’s going to be a big fight over why it isn’t happening.
Apple watchers (myself included) spent a good portion of 2012 sitting on their hands and waiting for the company’s promised foray into the television market. With the late Steve Jobs telling his biographer that he had finally “cracked” how to do a TV and current chief executive Tim Cook repeatedly saying it’s an area of “intense interest,” it’s been more of a question of when and how rather than if.
Yet, it didn’t happen, reportedly because Apple was having trouble in licensing negotiations with content owners. Recent rumblings have included both Intel and Sony, who are both reportedly interested in offering similar televisions but are encountering the same roadblocks.
Here in the frozen north, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission officially ruled last summer that television providers were to implement a-la-carte programming options for customers, yet outside of a few small pockets, it has yet to happen. Rogers had been testing such a system in London, Ont., but at an event last month, an executive said the company was finding the same difficulties as Apple, Intel and Sony in licensing negotiations. Content owners were wanting too much money for individual channels, he said.
Put all that together and it means things are coming to a head. Consumers clearly want individualized channels and shows, which the internet is providing. If big, powerful companies such as Apple and Sony can’t make a dent with content owners, they’re likely to start making some very public noise about the situation, which will attract regulators and politicians.
With any luck, a-la-carte channels will either become a reality in 2013, or the ground-work for a 2014 arrival will be laid.