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mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

Old 05-09-13, 07:50 PM
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mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/mcc...220453252.html

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator John McCain introduced a bill on Thursday that would uproot the current system of bundling cable channels and let customers pay for select channels on an "a la carte" basis, a move likely to face stiff industry opposition.

The influential Republican's bill, dubbed the Television Consumer Freedom Act, comes at a time when cable prices are rising and pressure is mounting for programmers to stop forcing consumers to pay for subscriptions to lower-rated cable networks in order to watch more popular channels.

The move drew criticism from a leading cable trade group, which has long opposed "a la carte" programming. The industry has fought with regulators for years to protect the right to bundle, arguing that it offers customers the best value.

McCain, a long-time critic, called it "unfair and wrong" that consumers must choose between paying for dozens of channels they might not watch, or not getting a cable subscription at all.

"For over 15 years, I have supported giving consumers the ability to buy cable channels individually ... to provide consumers more control over viewing options in their home and, as a result, their monthly cable bill," McCain said.

Prospects for the legislation are unclear, but the bill has re-focused a debate that has for years consumed broadcasters, programmers and distributors, caused headaches in Washington, and led to some high-profile court cases.

In one current case, Cablevision Systems Corp is accusing Viacom Inc of forcing cable providers and subscribers to buy channels they do not want. Viacom has asked the court to throw out the lawsuit.

Cablevision founder Charles Dolan and Charlie Ergen, the billionaire chairman of Dish Network Corp, have advocated for an "a la carte" model. But Ergen, asked about the bill on an earnings call on Thursday, sounded skeptical.

"There are six big or five big groups that probably have enough clout in Congress" to stop the legislation, Ergen said, adding, "we'll see."

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association fired back at McCain.

"A government-mandated a la carte system is a lose-lose proposition," the group said in a statement. "As countless studies have demonstrated, subscription bundles offer a wider array of viewing options, increased programming diversity and better value than per channel options."

In a nod to the high-profile debate over online TV service Aereo, McCain's bill would strip operation licenses from broadcasters that decide to take their programming off free airwaves to be offered to cable subscribers only.

Last month, News Corp's Fox TV network threatened to become a cable channel if courts do not shut down Aereo, which offers cut-rate TV subscriptions by capturing broadcast signals over thousands of antennas at one time.
I love this idea. I recognize that if we weren't forced to take bundles that many channels would disappear like ION, and likely other specialty channels. But I don't know why the majority should subsidize those if they can't make it on their own. Interesting that the chairman of Dish Network is in favor of it.
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Old 05-09-13, 07:57 PM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

Good. Now we're getting down to the things that really matter. TV!
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Old 05-09-13, 08:00 PM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

Is this really a job for the Senate?
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Old 05-09-13, 08:01 PM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

Not sure how this is going to help.

1) Sports Channel #1 ($10/month)

2) Movie Channel #2 ($10/month)

or

3) "Package Deal" for both channels: $15

Either way, you're still going to get fucked. This just allows the consumer to get fucked per line item.
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Old 05-09-13, 08:02 PM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/mcc...220453252.html


I love this idea. I recognize that if we weren't forced to take bundles that many channels would disappear like ION, and likely other specialty channels. But I don't know why the majority should subsidize those if they can't make it on their own. Interesting that the chairman of Dish Network is in favor of it.
I would love it as well. I have UVerse and there are a ton of channels I don't watch. I went through the guide and was able to hide about 100+ regular and HD channels that I don't watch. Stuff like 20 channels of different shopping channels, Oxygen, Oprah Channel, Lifetime, etc. I basically watch about 10-20 channels in total out of the hundreds that are part of my package.
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Old 05-09-13, 08:03 PM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

He is trying to get in good graces with the voters again. This is a Populist bill. Everyone hates that the Cable and Sat companies do this. Also, I thought this was already in the works anyway because TV on the internet would make it possible.
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Old 05-09-13, 08:08 PM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/mcc...220453252.html


I love this idea. I recognize that if we weren't forced to take bundles that many channels would disappear like ION, and likely other specialty channels. But I don't know why the majority should subsidize those if they can't make it on their own. Interesting that the chairman of Dish Network is in favor of it.
So much for "free market capitalists". I guess that it is too much to ask that people who dislike bundling simply cancel their cable service and explain why.

Between Netflix, Youtube, and over-the-air HD channels like MeTV, I'm about ready to cut the cable cord.
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Old 05-09-13, 08:19 PM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
Is this really a job for the Senate?
Especially a free market/anti regulation Republican senator
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Old 05-09-13, 08:30 PM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

Is cable TV really a "free market?" In most areas, cable companies are monopolies.

It sure would be nice to dump all the crappy channels I never watch, but in reality, those channels probably only cost about five cents each. And I'm sure that if the cable company with monopoly powers loses out on those nickels, they'll just make up for it by jacking up the rates of the channels that people actually want to watch.

The bundles aren't the problem. They're a symptom.
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Old 05-09-13, 08:35 PM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

Exactly. All this will do is create more job security for people like McCain, another bill with his name on it, and Cable Companies will simply jack prices up on the popular single channels.

Cable Company: "Hi DVD P, Would you like a single HBO Channel today?"

DVD P: "Sure! Thanks to McCain, you have to give me a better price! Ha ha!"

Cable Company: "Let's see...your previous billing was $60 a month for 100 channels, and so you will be saving...$5 a month by changing to a single HBO channel. You are right, sir! Congratulations!"

DVD P: "..."

Cable Company: "Oh, I almost forgot. There's a $30 new installation charge and a $10 new plan fee. Have a nice day. And say 'Hi' to John McCain for us!"
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Old 05-09-13, 08:57 PM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

I like the idea but this is how it will turn out:

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
Not sure how this is going to help.

1) Sports Channel #1 ($10/month)

2) Movie Channel #2 ($10/month)

or

3) "Package Deal" for both channels: $15

Either way, you're still going to get fucked. This just allows the consumer to get fucked per line item.
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Old 05-09-13, 09:04 PM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

Originally Posted by sracer View Post
So much for "free market capitalists". I guess that it is too much to ask that people who dislike bundling simply cancel their cable service and explain why.

Between Netflix, Youtube, and over-the-air HD channels like MeTV, I'm about ready to cut the cable cord.
Shit, this is liberalism as it sits. Let's keep on crappy niche channels by spreading the cost across everyone. In a free market, you could choose what channels live and which die. Cable companies are a monopoly. I understand why that was done initially (to make it worth putting in the infrastructure), but it is time to let an actual free market take over.

yeah, this is late as the internet will make it meaningless in a few years. And the cable companies always say "this will cause people to pay more, not less." and people believe that shit. If that were true, the cable companies would be lobbying for this to happen.
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Old 05-09-13, 09:11 PM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Shit, this is liberalism as it sits. Let's keep on crappy niche channels by spreading the cost across everyone.
All those crappy niche channels probably get a couple pennies per month per subscriber. All the popular channels get 100x as many pennies per month.

If it were truly liberalism, the crappy channels and the popular channels would all get the same per subscriber because we wouldn't want the niche channels feelings to get hurt.
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Old 05-09-13, 11:57 PM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

You know that you can program pretty much any box to scroll through only the channels you want.

This isn't partisan. This is grumpy old man legislation.
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Old 05-10-13, 01:16 AM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

I doubt John McCain even knows how to use his DVR he's proabably just tired of having to flip past LOGO and MTV before finding History Channel.
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Old 05-10-13, 02:10 AM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

Benghazi Benghazi Benghazi Benghazi Benghazi
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Old 05-10-13, 10:13 AM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/...ly-not/275735/

3 catches

First catch: Plausibility. McCain has proposed an a la carte TV plan before, and it was rejected even when he had more friends at the FCC who were vocally supportive of choose-your-own TV in 2006. So temper your optimism.

Second catch: Cost. Most independent studies have found that un-bundling the networks would dramatically raise the price of each individual channel because the networks would have to replace the money lost from being a part of the bundle. "A la carte" is not a synonym here for "vastly cheaper."

Why's that? Your bundle pays each channel in two ways. First, it pays directly. For example, ESPN "costs" about $5 a month; that is, about $5 from every cable bill goes to ESPN. Second, the bundle pays indirectly through advertising. If ESPN is in fewer households (i.e.: only the households that pay directly for ESPN), they'll project less ad revenue. As a result, buying ESPN could cost as much as $20 a month as the company seeks to make up revenue in the interim. Even if you don't watch ESPN, you'll still have to pay more per channel that you do today because of the economics of bundling and the dual-revenue model for networks.

On the bright side for consumers, perhaps you could see the dissolution of the cable bundle squeezing networks and programming costs and show budgets, leading to a deceleration of overall TV costs. But if customers had to pay more than expected for individuals channels, it's hard to know if they would view these savings as a bargain or just a less-for-less exchange.

Third catch: Logistics. Let's talk about something really practical. How many times a year could you switch your channel line-up? Once a year? Four times a year? It's a serious question.

Let's say you don't want A&E on its own. Sounds sensible. Then a show like "Duck Dynasty," one of the biggest hits in cable history, debuts and suddenly you want A&E. 'Easy,' you say, 'I'll just subscribe to A&E for a few months and cancel after Duck Dynasty is over.' But that just won't do. Channels like AMC won't survive if a handful of people only sign up for the few weeks that 'Mad Men' is airing. A la carte sounds like a pain-free option, but 100 million households adding and dropping channels mid-year is a recipe for a logistical and strategic disaster for the industry.
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Old 05-10-13, 10:18 AM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

Nice thread title.
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Old 05-10-13, 10:21 AM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
yeah, this is late as the internet will make it meaningless in a few years. And the cable companies always say "this will cause people to pay more, not less." and people believe that shit. If that were true, the cable companies would be lobbying for this to happen.
My bill going up doesn't necessarily mean cable companies will make more money. If that extra money goes to the networks and not the providers, I can see why they wouldn't lobby for this to happen.
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Old 05-10-13, 10:38 AM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

If you don't want cable TV, don't subscribe.
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Old 05-10-13, 11:08 AM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

I used to support a la carte cable, but for the reasons above I now lean against it. Logistical nightmare, and yes I think a lot of decent channels wouldn't be able to survive. I don't pay for cable and haven't for almost 8 years now. I'm happy enough with online viewing (I pay for Hulu, Netflix - although Hulu sucks), and torrents.
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Old 05-10-13, 11:20 AM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

If I could pay < $40/month for soccer & tennis then I would be in favor of this. I can get my 'fix' of other sports OTA and there are enough other options for series TV than don't require cable.
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Old 05-10-13, 11:23 AM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

I'd be happy if they'd even allow a premium only subscription. It aggravates me to no end that I have to pay for 100+ channels of commercial infested slop in a 'basic' package just to be able to get to HBO/Showtime/Cinemax. I could get the few basic cable programs worth watching from Amazon/itunes, etc. But don't want to have to resort to nefarious methods or wait a year to get my Game of Thrones, Shameless, and Banshee.
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Old 05-10-13, 12:04 PM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

Way to screw up nearly every word in the thread title.
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Old 05-10-13, 12:28 PM
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Re: mcCain seeks "a la cart" cable channel subsdcriptions

I could deal with or without cable. It's much easier to just have it.
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