Are Bundled Internet Packages On Their Way Out?
Bundled internet packages are multiple services such as internet, telephone, cable or satellite and wireless services all for one price. Bundled services mean discounts for consumers.
Many consumers also use different providers for different services to get the best deals or they see better service in one area. They might use, for example, Comcast internet plans and use a completely different carrier for phone service. Consumers are starting to think “outside the package.”
The Disruptive Internet
Controversy – to say the least – has developed from a disruptive tech company called Aereo, which allows users to watch live television over the internet, which is opposed by the major cable television networks. Court rulings have actually favored Aereo that they are not infringing on copyrights. This case has helped open up the discussion on how consumers want to use media. More and more evidence points to the consumer wanting more control for a better deal.
While a debate is growing about whether cable television programming should be unbundled, the internet has already led the way in the concept. The way the internet has revolutionized several industries has been to give the consumer a useful edge not found in mainstream markets. The internet became the most likely place to favor the maximum amount of consumer choice, as internet bundling with other services has provided consumers convenience in billing.
The Bundle Concept
The idea that you have to pay for dozens or maybe even hundreds of products that you never use has caused legislators to respond. Senator John McCain has introduced a bill to unbundle cable television packages sold to consumers. But this issue is different than bundled internet because cable has a finite number of channels, whereas the internet has a more endless stream of destinations.
People usually have many favorite websites that they enjoy visiting to keep them busy for hours. Cable TV is different, though, because it’s more of a passive experience that can sometimes turn into a channel surfing adventure more than watching actual programming. And different people in families have different tastes. What’s happening in families now, is different devices being used to watch and view different shows and websites at the same time. It’s more unplugged than unbundled.
Sticking with our previous example, that’s why it’s likely that consumers will continue to want bundles such as Comcast internet plans packaged with other services such as telephone. Cable TV, though, may become unbundled through legislation.
The Future of Internet Packages
Netflix is a video subscription service that continues to move toward giving video customers what they want on demand. This concept may inevitably affect the cable industry and how video programming is marketed in general. The idea of waiting for a TV show to air is not as appealing to many consumers who would rather watch shows on their own personal schedule than to follow a network schedule.
The idea of on demand content has been strong for over a decade. iTunes for example, has proven to be the most successful model for music delivery so far. The subscription concept for video may be rethought in the coming years to be patterned more after the emerging on-demand model. Most cable companies already offer that, as well, though it’s an upgrade
If this idea catches on, it could mean an end to cable and internet packages bundled together, as the internet alone will give consumers access to all the video programming they need. Until then, bundled internet plans still make sense for many home users and businesses.
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