Is a la carte cable really a “farce” as 21st Century Fox CEO Chase Carey claims? Well we’re about to find out because our neighbors to the north are doing us the favor of giving it a try. Per The Hollywood Reporter, TV subscribers in Ontario this week will be able to buy channels a la carte from IPTV startup VMedia, whose UChoose Store will charge subscribers around $2.12 per month for each channel they subscribe to. Subscribers will also have the option of buying small bundles of 6 channels that will cost $1.65 each per month or 12 channels that will cost $1.41 each per month.
Canadian cable companies are predictably pitching a fit about VMedia’s business model and are claiming that such a la carte services will result in “less investment in homegrown programming and more American shows filling primetime schedules,” The Hollywood Reporter says. But if VMedia is successful, it will severely undermine the cable industry’s usual scare story that claims a la carte services would be just as or more expensive than traditional bundles because they’d have to charge a lot more per channel to make up for all the subsidies they get from home shopping channels.
Needless to say, anyone interested in seeing whether the economics can work for a la carte will be watching VMedia’s progress very carefully.