Plunging headlong into cable-industry existentialism, the Wall Street Journal explored the beginnings of pay-TV's embattled programming bundle. The paper concludes that its origins date all the way back to industry founder John Walson, who found it technologically difficult to sell custom selections of channels as the programming selection on his burgeoning cable systems grew beyond just local broadcast stations.
Of course, during the cable industry's first three decades, operators will tell you, bread was a nickel, and nobody was charging $5 a subscriber for ESPN.
Back in the old days, concludes 1970s-era cable operator H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, "the rates were reasonable and you could bundle all these things. It was a bargain for the subscriber."
You can click here to read the WSJ's interesting cable history lesson. (sub. req.)