Want Your Cable Channels À La Carte? Move To Canada

The government has announced a plan to force cable companies to unbundle their services so that customers can pick and choose their channels. Could this happen in the US? It's unlikely.

What's the Latest Development?

This weekend, Canadian interior minister James Moore said the government plans to force cable companies to unbundle their services, allowing customers to pay only for the channels they want to watch. While it's likely that the television industry will fight this initiative, one company, Telus, has doubled its customer base by offering a variation on this model: Their streamlined basic package allows customers to pay $4 for each additional channel.

What's the Big Idea?

For those who wonder why they have to pay for all those mysterious, never-watched channels in the cable guide, the idea of à la carte cable sounds great. However, there are several big hurdles preventing it from becoming a reality, particularly in the US. A recent Needham Insights study showed that television industry revenue could drop by half if bundled cable services went away, and many obscure channels would disappear as well because they are largely supported by the financial success of more popular channels. Also, it's likely that the price of those popular channels would go up in order for cable companies to make the same amount of revenue.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Bloomberg Businessweek

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
Keep reading Show less

Apparently even NASA is wrong about which planet is closest to Earth

Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.

Strange Maps
  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
  • Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
  • Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
Keep reading Show less

Remembering when bankers tried to overthrow FDR and install a fascist dictator

When FDR took office, the U.S. was in the grips of the Great Depression. People had grown desperate, and FDR's election seemed disastrous. Some wealthy bankers believed that it was time to take the country by force.

Image source: Topical Press Agency / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Though we know today that his policies eventually ended the Great Depression, FDR's election was seen as disastrous by some.
  • A group of wealthy bankers decided to take things into their own hands; they plotted a coup against FDR, hoping to install a fascist dictator in its stead.
  • Ultimately, the coup was brought to light by General Smedley Butler and squashed before it could get off the ground.
Keep reading Show less