A la carte cable: An opportunity for IPTV providers?

As cable companies line up against the FCC's recent push for a la carte programming, we at FierceIPTV are asking ourselves: What does this mean for IPTV providers? In our opinion, it's a significant opportunity for IPTV providers to market the unique capabilities of IPTV, curry favor with the FCC and put a roadblock in front of the cable operators. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if the lobbying interests of IPTV providers had a hand in the push.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Some IPTV providers are finding it difficult to convince content providers that a la carte is the way to go and, therefore, have trouble gathering content. Now, the FCC is making the a la carte case for them.
  • IPTV's fiber delivery method is built for personalization. Packet-switched delivery makes IPTV the better delivery method for personalized television service.
  • IPTV providers want regulators to put a la carte pressure on cable because the move would rock the industry's pricing paradigm. If a la carte cable wins the day, the cable providers would need to reorganize their business models, which could drive a lot of cable subscribers to IPTV.
  • The FCC's newest study reportedly suggests that a la carte pricing is a better deal for the consumer. Although these reports have been met with mixed reviews, they give IPTV companies an opportunity to push the a la carte discussion one step further. Bundled tiers are obviously out-dated, but many think the channel is, too.

For the cable industry, the FCC's policy shift may be one discussion in a long series of attention-grabbing political stunts in the television decency debate. For IPTV providers, this is the opportunity to fully distinguish their services from cable.

For more information on the FCC's push for a la carte cable:
- check out this article from The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)
- and look at this piece from BusinessWeek

THIS JUST IN: AT&T issues statement to FCC backing a la carte programming. Article