This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Channel Choice Could Crush Cable

This column was originally published on RealMoney on Nov. 29 at 9:37 a.m. EST. It's being republished as a bonus for readers.

Just when I thought it couldn't get worse for cable, suddenly I am given choices? You have to be kidding me. Is the Federal Communications Commission really going to show that much muscle and make the cable companies unbundle channels and packages? Choice is the killer for Comcast (CMCSA) and Cablevision (CVC) and Time Warner (TWX).

Of course, they tell you that people love choices, just love them. When I interviewed Brian Roberts for Philadelphia Magazine last year, he emphasized over and over again that what mattered was choice, that people loved to pick among lots of different offerings.

But we all know the truth. There's lots of stuff that we want, but there is much more stuff that we don't want that we have to pay for. On my dial at home, for example, from channels 15 to 37, I have bubkes, a bunch of Spanish and Korean stations and a massive amount of shopping channels. How much would I pay not to have them between the shows that I really want? And the only choice that I actually can't live without -- the NFL package -- isn't even offered on cable.

Remember why we liked cable stocks: The companies could raise rates at will and had a virtual monopoly. Now they no longer have that control, and if we can pay for only the channels we want, if we can get unbundled cable stations, the cable bill will drop to a level that will make the cash flow of these companies a frighteningly unpredictable element.

Now, I know that the buyback that Comcast has kept that stock from being crushed here, and I know that Icahn has kept a bit of a premium to Time Warner. But if the FCC allows this to go through, I can't understand why I would even want to be in the cable business, let alone own the shares.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,053.71 +23.50 0.13%
S&P 500 2,088.77 +6.89 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,806.8590 +33.3870 0.70%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs