Martin Again Beating Cable A La Carte Drum
from the tv-as-cafeteria dept
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's attempts to force cable companies to offer a la carte pricing have been largely unsuccessful, mainly because his contention that it will save people money is unlikely to prove to be true. But Martin doesn't really care all that much about your wallet; he sees a la carte as a way to restrict programming seen as indecent by "family" groups whose TV remote controls apparently don't work. He's now gone to Congress voicing his support (via Broadband Reports) for legislation that would force operators to offer channels on an a la carte basis. Martin apparently again portrayed this as a financial issue, by saying that cable prices keep rising, and that consumers tend to only watch 15 to 17 channels of all the ones they have to pay for. Again, Martin's insistence that a la carte will lead to lower prices isn't certain, and it seems likely that per-channel prices would simply increase to offset any potential shortfall in cable revenues. If Martin wants to address the competitive problems in the marketplace that lead to continually rising prices, that would be great, but it would seem his real interest is in pandering to pressure groups, and any talk of saving consumers money looks like little more than a smokescreen. After all, he's never really explained why the FCC suddenly changed its mind and decided that a la carte would be cheaper for consumers once he came into power there.