Cable Execs Downplay Chances of a la Carte Pricing

Dec 5, 2005  •  Post A Comment

The cable industry is unlikely to adopt an a la carte pricing strategy anytime soon, since it would likely result in consumers paying more to get less, two top industry executives said Monday.

Both Glenn Britt, chairman of Time Warner Cable, and George Bodenheimer, co-chairman of The Walt Disney Co.’s media networks division, said separately Monday that they didn’t expect last week’s comments from Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin to immediately usher in major changes in how cable television is delivered to consumers.

Mr. Martin shocked the cable industry by

issuing a report that supports a la carte cable pricing, arguing it would be in the best interest of consumers.

“We don’t think the consumer is served by any sort of a la carte business model,” Mr. Bodenheimer said. “We don’t see any broad support for it on the operator or programmer side. I don’t see too much momentum behind the move to an a la carte distribution system.” Mr. Britt added that cable operators, to maintain the same level of revenue, would either have to charge high rates for certain channels or end up offering consumers fewer channels to avoid higher cable rates.