Lyle chats about the a la carte pricing controversy, but I think he’s hitting a tangent here. The question at hand is not “should cable companies offer a la carte pricing” but “should cable companies be forced to offer a la carte pricing” – and I haven’t yet seen any solid argument given for that. The central argument used is that the consumer wants a la carte pricing, but giving consumers what they want is something that is best dealt with as a market situation, and while many areas have an exclusive cable provider, cable is no longer the only gane in town there. The local cable provider competes with the sattelite providers.
Having said that, I don’t buy anyone’s claims that a la carte will lower the price of cable. Where is the savings to come from? Is it lowering the cost of producing the shows? If not, then the “savings” comes at offering less total content across the spectrum. And even if it lowered the cost of content to the cable companies, there’s no particular visible incentive for them to lower the total cost to the end consumer. Does it lower the cost of providing service? Quite the opposite, it adds another layer of complexity to the ordering and distribution process.
And you know what? Even if they get what they want, it’s not going to satisfy the people who are asking for this. They’re going to be able to not “pay for” the channels that they want to stand against… and then find that there are channels that have shows they want and shows they don’t, and they’re going to insist on a right to only pay for the shows they want.
I have trouble seeing this new government regulation as a win for much of anyone, and don’t see any reason to support it.