ABC, CBS, NBC most desirable a la carte channels: report

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ABC, CBS and NBC would be the most desirable channels in a potential à la carte scenario, according to a new report from TiVo research arm Digitalsmiths.

The survey showed that, of the 78 percent of respondents who would be interested in an à la carte TV package, 70.7 percent would want ABC, 70.1 percent would want CBS and 65.5 percent would want NBC. Rounding out the top five is the Discovery Channel and History, respectively with 62.1 percent and 59.7 percent of respondents naming them as top choices for an à la carte package.

Fox missed out on the top five, with only 56 percent of respondents saying they would add the network. A&E, PBS, TNT and TBS filled out the rest of the top 10, though only A&E averaged above 50 percent.

What respondents would pay for those top ten à la carte channels is another matter. On average, respondents said they would pay around $1.50 for most of the channels in the top ten, with the highest amount being $1.74 for PBS and the lowest being $1.41 for TBS. Based on the results, respondents would be OK paying $15.30 for all top ten channels.

Image: Digitalsmiths

“Though TiVo believes the dollar amounts for each channel … are accurate, it only captures what respondents claim they will pay, not what they might pay if extra value were present,” wrote Digitalsmiths in its report. “In an effort to fight churn within the existing subscriber base as well as competition from emerging services, pay-TV providers must offer compelling à la carte, or skinny bundle, packages that include key channels unavailable in competitive offerings.”

That strategy reared its head recently when PlayStation Vue announced it was dropping all of Viacom’s channels from its service and Sling TV pounced on the opportunity to lure customers to its service, where the Viacom networks are still available.

Of course, offerings like CBS All Access poke some holes in the new Digitalsmiths numbers. CBS sells its direct-to-consumer service (which is essentially CBS a la carte) for $5.99 per month, much higher than the $1.55 that respondents said they would pay for CBS. However, CBS offers more than just a linear CBS broadcast, throwing in an on-demand library and exclusive content like the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery.