An article on Mashable yesterday described Apple’s pushing companies to allow 99-cent rentals of television shows on iTunes. If companies buy into the plan, it could move things toward a completely on-demand entertainment world.
Why should anyone pay $50 (and that’s a conservative estimate) for cable or satellite every month when they only watch a very small percent of what is available to them?
The average person might watch three or four shows consistently. Paying a buck to watch an episode saves time (reduced or zero commercials), allows the viewer to watch at their convenience, and saves a decent chunk of money in the process.
Sure there are downfalls; flipping through the channels would be eliminated, decreasing your chance of stumbling across something new that could peak your interest. There are no lack of resources and reviewers online, however, to help you find something you are missing out on.
Live events, specifically sports, would be more difficult to watch. The NHL, MLB, and NBA already give fans the ability to watch any game they want to over the internet (or on their phones). These packages are primarily all-games-or-none, but there is no reason why they couldn’t give the option to watch a single game for a dollar or a quarter or based on time.
It’s almost a given that we’re going to have both for a while; broadcasting via cable and satellite is pretty much all we’ve known when it comes to television so many will hesitate to change. The internet isn’t going anywhere though and sooner or later people will start to see that it makes no sense to pay for things you aren’t viewing anyway.