A chance for a-la-carte cable!

PTC: Cable Lawsuit Could Pave the Way for Consumer Cable Choice


The Parents Television Council praised the decision by the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to allow a case to move forward that is a direct challenge to the lack of cable choice available to consumers.

“We applaud the federal court’s decision allowing the class action antitrust suit to proceed to trial on the merits of the complaint. It is a breath of fresh air to know that cable consumers still have a voice in our court system. Sadly, the consumer’s voice in Washington DC and elsewhere has been muted by the cable industry’s enormous wallet,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“This lawsuit will directly confront the cable cartel’s anti-competitive and anti-consumer product bundling practices. Consumers should be allowed to choose and pay for only the cable networks they want, just like they do when they go to a movie at the Cineplex or to buy a magazine at the newsstand. The cable industry has been defiant in providing choice to consumers and it continues to spend millions to keep its unfair bundling in place. We hope that this lawsuit will pave the way for real change in the industry.”

Consumers can calculate what their cable bill would be if they were allowed to select only the cable networks they want to buy at the PTC’s web site, [FONT=Arial][size=2]www.HowCableShouldBe.com.

[FONT=Arial]► A La Carte Lawsuit Will Proceed - Multichannel News
**► **For more information about our Cable Choice campaign click here.[/FONT][/FONT][/size]


Unfortunately, what will most likely happen if this goes through is the ala-carte prices will be many times higher than the bundled prices, plus a good deal of the current cable pricing will be turned into “service fee”, “delivery fee”, “infrastructure maintenance fee”… (Of course, maybe those are already there; I don’t have cable. If they are, I’m sure they’ll be able to think of new names.)

So we’ll probably see something like:

Current 90 channels bundled: $49.99

ESPN: $10
Disney: $13
Discovery: $9 (Gotta get those evolution shows! :slight_smile: )
CMT: $5
Local channel delivery fee, 4 networks: $12
Ala-carte administration fee: $17
Total: $66

Sure, they’ll be glad to sell you your 8-channel ala-carte selection instead of the 90-channel bundle if you want.

Those per-channel prices on the website I’m sure already have factored into them the expected number of forced payers, even if 90% never watch the channel. When only the 10% are watching, the prices will go up by 10 times. Which may force some networks out of business. Which in many cases, would be no great loss.

Thanks for your take, Brad. I’m very interested to see how this plays out, in any case. We don’t watch cable, first, because of the smutty programming, second, because it’s so expensive. So we have rabbit ears. :thumbsup: But if an affordable a-la-carte option came around, we’d go for it.

I generally like a la carte cable but I fear that C-SPAN will be the first to go. This would be a great lose for democracy and public discourse. Perhaps C-SPAN could be required for cable in the same way that the original three broadcast companies were required to serve the public interest.

I am starting to favor the a la carte cable concept, but I am concerned that proponents almost always, IMHO, pontificate the lone argument, “Why should I have to pay for access to channels I do not want to watch?” My argument I would like to see added is, “Why am I completely denied access to any channel I would be willing to pay for?”

Cable companies always justify their package pricing on their claim that sports and news channels charge the highest rates, which are kept from the public. If carriage charges are cable’s best defense, why does Mediacom negate the effects of their rhetoric by perpetually refusing access to EWTN in southern Illinois? To me, prohibition from speech regarding my beliefs combined with paying for what is not wanted would make a one-two punch.

What a great point! If a la carte is the way of the future, then why should any channel be excluded? The best cable company would become the one who offered the best rates AND the most choices.

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