Skinny Bundles and Viewer Preferences
The thing about WatchTV and other skinny bundles is that they are, by definition, “skinny.” They also tend to feature packages of channels that do not cost much, which is one key way of limiting retail prices.
The problem for perhaps many potential buyers is that such bundling of less-costly channels also means some broad interest but expensive channels (ESPN and other sports) are not in the bundles.
And here you might glean some of the logic behind the Time Warner acquisition. Several of the most-expensive channels (TNT, CNN, TBS) are in the WatchTV bundle, and AT&T owns all three.
Still, as more users are discovering, purchasing multiple subscriptions often is needed to assemble a menu that matches (more or less) any single person’s interests. In part, single ad-supported channels sometimes are not available to buy, at all, as contracts might prevent it, in some cases, while business models are unattractive for suppliers, in other cases.
The problem is that while most households watch just about 17 or 18 channels, they are not usually the same 17 or 18. Undoubtedly, each person, in each household, also has a rather unique viewing pattern, as well, possibly including a dozen or fewer channels that are routinely viewed.