I’m Pro Choice
Consumers watch, on average, just 17 channels. But to get them, they are forced to buy this bundle of channels, because it opens up the universe of programming that they do want, from Disney and Nickelodeon to CNN and C-SPAN to channels for sports fans and history buffs.
This “all or nothing” approach is more than just an annoyance; it’s a consumer rip-off. And it forces parents to try to protect their children from cable programs that they consider unsuitable just to get kid-friendly channels. . .
It would be unthinkable for a magazine publisher to tell you that in order to subscribe to the children’s magazine Ranger Rick, you must also subscribe to Playboy and Guns & Ammo. But that’s exactly what the cable industry has been forcing cable subscribers to do. The practice limits choice, raises consumer costs, and prohibits new and independent cable programming that might better reflect the diverse interests of viewers. . .
The cable industry knows there is growing consumer support for legislation requiring cable companies to provide “a la carte” pricing — an option that would allow subscribers to select and pay for only those channels they want.
It’s something I’ve been hoping for this for quite some time. Most cable providers are highly resistant to this infringement on their monopolistic programming power (satellite TV usage is still relatively scarce), but some other big hitters are supporting the measure. Speaking strictly as a consumer, I hope this goes through.