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Dear Cable Subscriber,

We’ve been getting this question a lot:

Is it possible to choose the channels we really want without the ones we never watch? Just asking because I don't know how that works.

If you’ve wondered why you can’t pick and choose the exact channels you watch, in the same way you order from an a la carte menu at your favorite restaurant, you aren’t alone. Many viewers have switched to a streaming service such as YouTube TV, Roku, etc. However, streaming services also require a fee that includes many often unwatched channels.

While these channels might not rank on your list, major networks (referred to as media empires) own many channels, and they require broadcasters like Citizens to buy the entire bundle. For example, to get HGTV, we have to pay a lump sum that includes all of the smaller channels the media empire owns. From their point of view, it makes sense. They need to cover the costs of producing all of the content on all of those channels, and if they let viewers pick and choose, the smaller channels wouldn’t be viable. But we understand that this is frustrating for viewers who may only watch a handful of the channels in their package.

We would like to offer ala carte choices to our customers, but we are required to pay one price for the TV channel bundle, and that price continues to increase. Rest assured that we will continue to negotiate contracts on your behalf, but the industry continues to take the choice out of the equation.

There is a lot more to this story, and for those interested in learning the history and finer details, these articles from Reviewgeek and Fastcompany are useful resources.

Sincerely,

Your Cooperative