Cablevision Endorses View that a la Carte Cable Choice Best for Consumers

Dec 2, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Cablevision Systems Corp. has publicly endorsed Federal Communications Commission Chairman’s Kevin Martin suggestion that a la carte cable would be in the best interests of consumers.

“Like Chairman Martin, we do not believe in the long term that selling programming a la carte will be detrimental to either programmers or cable operators,” Cablevision Chairman Charles Dolan said in a statement released Thursday. “On the contrary, our experience indicates a la carte will result in a more affordable service for all, with more programming options.”

Mr. Dolan said the FCC chairman’s suggestion that consumers be allowed to pick and pay for only the cable TV networks they truly want is consistent with the best retailing traditions.

“Consumers should not be obliged directly or indirectly to buy services they do not want,” Mr. Dolan said.

AT&T (formerly SBC Communications) said it would offer a la carte on its new broadband video services, if that’s what subscribers want and cable TV industry programmers permit the phone company giant to do so.

“If consumers want a la carte programming, we will be happy to offer it so long as we are able to obtain access to the programming in that manner,” AT&T spokesman Mike Balmoris said in a statement. “As we enter the video market, it is our goal to deliver more choices to our customers when they want it, in the way they want it.”

Cablevision is a longtime supporter of a la carte, and Mr. Dolan has testified to that effect previously in Congress. In his statement last week, Mr. Dolan said he hopes Mr. Martin’s remarks — made during a Senate forum on indecency earlier this week — “encourage a move by the industry in this direction.”