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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Darin, Mar 4th, 2005 @ 6:56am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Precision blogger, Mar 4th, 2005 @ 7:04am

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Will, Sep 26th, 2006 @ 8:22am

    Any channel that has commercials on it, should be free to watch. If you pay for TV, there should be no commercials.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Hide this ad »
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Hide this ad »
Techdirt Insider Chat
Hide this ad »
Recent Stories
Advertisement - Amazon Prime Music
Hide this ad »


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.