A new report examines the monthly prices cable channels would charge on an a la carte basis for each channel to make as much as it does under the current system. Not that it’s likely to happen anytime soon, as the results of the study, by MoffettNathanson, led Re/code to conclude: “Short answer: You’ll pay a lot more for the TV you want [under a la carte].”
It’s no surprise that ESPN comes in with the highest “implied a la carte price” at $36.30 a month. But the gap between ESPN and the rest of the channels is striking, with TNT — another channel with significant sports rights — second on the list at $8.95. Rounding out the top 5: Disney at No. 3, $8.25; USA Network at No. 4, $5.45; Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite at No. 5, $4.99.
The report focuses on basic cable channels and skips broadcast, which “technically” remains free via over-the-air transmission — even though broadcasters have become a key ingredient in the current pay-TV bundling model.
Click on the link near the top of this story to go to the Re/code report to see the chart breaking down pricing for 20 of the top cable channels.