The Death of the Bundle

In an April 14th, 2013 opinion piece for The New York Times, David Carr examines how the threads holding together the traditional revenue models for television continue to fray.

The key question that David Carr asks? Are the traditional TV "bundles" (e.g., commercials embedded in shows, a group of bad channels along with the good, etc.) about to spill apart?

As David Carr writes: "Charles Ergen, the chairman of Dish Network, was recently called the “most hated man in Hollywood” by The Hollywood Reporter because he dared to give consumers the ability to unbundle advertising and programming with a touch of a button using [the] Hopper." And "Cablevision filed an antitrust suit against Viacom challenging its requirement that the cable company carry rarely viewed channels to get access to Viacom’s more popular ones."

"Those initiatives represent assaults on different parts of the business, but each is an attack on the bundle, and the legacy industry is reacting ferociously."

“The bundle is the Gibraltar of the media business” [Columbia law professor and author of “The Master Switch, Tim Wu, told David Carr]. “It keeps the entire ecosystem alive, which is why it is so heavily and successfully defended. But there are hairline fractures beginning to appear, and you are seeing alliances shift.”

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