Push For FCC Mandate Over Cable Could Bring Back A La Carte Debate

from the forcing-the-issue dept

While very few people expect the effort to have the FCC regulate cable and satellite services to get very far, bringing up the issue may bring back to life a different debate: whether pay-TV providers should be forced to offer a la carte programming. The reasoning is that if there was a la carte programming, then people could easily pick and choose the channels that were less likely to offend them. Some of the people complaining about “indecency” on pay TV are mainly complaining that to get some channels they want, they have to get others that they find problematic. It’s an issue that comes up often enough — but never seems to go very far. Perhaps that’s because studies have shown that a la carte programming would be much more expensive, as the technology, marketing and support issues needed to manage it would drive up costs for providers.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Push For FCC Mandate Over Cable Could Bring Back A La Carte Debate”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Darin says:

Higher costs?

How, in an age of software-controlled access, would the technical aspects of bringing ala carte access to customers drive prices higher? I would venture to say that prices will be driven higher from the marketing effort of cable providers to convince customers that the technical aspects of bringing ala carte access cost more. It’s a freaking software switch.

Precision blogger (user link) says:

A la carte will NOT work for the cable industry

It’s easy to prove that “A la carte” will NOT work for the cable industry. Specialty channels have costs, and chances are that it will be more expensive to buy 15 channels a la carte than it is now to get 90 at a fixed rate.

What will make A la carte channels succeed is the “long tail” effect, where — as long as channels can keep their costs reasonable — they can all find enough viewers worldwide to make their existence worth while.

It’s the WEB that provides a large enough audience for the long tail to work! So A la carte broadcasting will eventually (maybe within five to eight years) be much more cost-effective on the web than on cable.

If there ever was a window of opportunity for A la carte on cable, that window is about to close.
– precision blogger

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...