Skip to main content

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


(CMCSA) - Get Free Report





Time Warner



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


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.

Image placeholder title

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.

Of course, cable will lobby against it. But these companies are so wildly unpopular I can't believe that the FCC won't roll over them.


P.S. from Editor-in-Chief, Dave Morrow:

It's always been my opinion that it pays to have more -- not fewer -- expert market views and analyses when you're making investing or trading decisions. That's why I recommend you take advantage of our

free trial offer



premium Web site, where you'll get in-depth commentary


money-making strategies from over 50 Wall Street pros, including Jim Cramer. Take my advice --

try it now.

James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of He contributes daily market commentary for's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for and, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for

ActionAlertsPLUS. Listen to Cramer's RealMoney Radio show on your computer; just click

here. Watch Cramer on "Mad Money" at 6 p.m. ET weeknights on CNBC. Click

here to order Cramer's latest book, "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click

here to get his second book, "You Got Screwed!" and click

here to order Cramer's autobiography, "Confessions of a Street Addict." While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column by

clicking here.