McCain working on bill to allow for 'a la carte' cable TV packages [telecom]

The Hill Newspaper By Brendan Sasso - 05/08/13 06:24 PM ET

| Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is working on legislation that | would pressure cable and satellite TV providers to allow their | customers to pick and choose the channels they pay for, his | office confirmed on Wednesday. | | Consumers have long complained about the rising costs of cable | TV packages and having to pay for dozens or even hundreds of | channels just to gain access to the few that they watch.

Continued at

formatting link

McCain has been advocating a-la-carte for cable TV and satellite TV retailers for years. But this bill at least addresses the bundling problem at the wholesale level ("...[it] would bar TV networks from bundling their broadcast stations with cable channels they own during negotiations with the cable companies...").

Even if the final version of this bill doesn't force retailers to offer all channels on an a-la-carte basis, preventing broadcasters from bundling non-broadcast programming with broadcast programming would give retailers the flexibility to offer channels in tiers.

The obvious tier would sports: put all sports programming on a separate tier. Of course, if this happened, the sports programmers would suffer a precipitous drop in license fee revenue and a corresponding drop in advertising revenue, so they would have to raise license fees to compensate.

Sports fans would protest vociferously. A-la-carte is a double-edged sword.

The article continues...

| Several broadcasting officials have said recently that if they | do not win in court, they would consider taking their | programming off the air to prevent Aereo from stealing it. | | The bill would pull the broadcast licenses of companies that | switch high-value programming from over-the-air television to | cable channels, according to the sources.

Well, I suppose this bill could force the FCC to lift the licenses of the networks' O&O stations, but most network affiliates are owned by other companies. As I've noted before in this space, if FOX or CBS refuses to renew an affiliation agreement with a non-owned station, the station owners would have plenty of other options.


formatting link

Neal McLain

Reply to
Neal McLain
Loading thread data ...

The editors of "The Hill" should have put the word "stealing" in quotation marks, given that it's at best an assertion made by the unnamed broadcasters and so far not backed up in a court of law.


Reply to
Garrett Wollman Forums website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.