Here's a neat breakdown of just how much cable companies have to pay per subscribers to carry certain channels from media companies like Disney and NFL. What's interesting is how much companies have to pay for Fox News. You'd think it's more of an entertainment ("feel good (let's get angry together)" channel) than a news channel.
Also, more on why ESPN is able to command such a bigger subscription rate (NYT).
You would think that maybe some other new players (oh, you know), certain high tech companies with huge ad or hardware profit margins, could step in, pay more or even upfront, to secure new deals to provide users with a new business model to compete against the bundling that cable guys have been forcing down our throats for decades.
Considering how little the NFL channel costs, getting a deal together for the top ten or twenty cable channels is nothing for Apple, Google, or Microsoft.