FCC’s Martin Still Riding A La Carte Horse
June 15, 2007 12:51 PM
Here we go again as FCC Chairman Kevin Martin endorsed a bill yesterday that would force cable ops to offer a family tier (excuse me, but many already or soon will) or let parents, who pay the bills, get rebates for channels they have blocked from their children. In other words, here’s another twist on a la carte.
I can live with family tiers, and so can the cable industry. But letting consumers get rebates on channels in a pre-packaged tier, such as expanded basic, truly opens up a Pandora’s box for all. What’s to stop some enterprising soul like me from saying, “Gee, I find sports programming violent, and no longer want to pay for ESPN?” You know, all that spitting and tobacco chewing, not to mention the violent fights in hockey.
As a consumer, I would love it, never having watched, but paid for ESPN ever since I’ve had cable. But realistically, if a la carte became a reality it would ruin an economic model that pretty much works for everyone, including viewers. If cable subscribers paid for only what they watched they might be surprised how expensive it would be to order, channel by channel off of an la carte menu.