Ignoring warnings from the NAB to back off its quest for a la carte distribution of broadcast channels through pay-TV services, American Cable Association president and CEO Matthew Polka took to the blogoshpere to once again plug the cable industry's "Local Choice" initiative.
According to Polka, a la carte services like CBS All Access render rules in the 1992 Cable Act anachronistic, and Congress needs to reform the law.
"Say you want to be a cable subscriber but all you want in terms of broadcasting is the area's CBS station. Your cable company will say it can't do so either because of federal law, or because CBS won't allow it," Polka wrote. "Call back the same cable company in your role as one of its broadband Internet subscribers and ask the same question: Will you sell me CBS a la carte? Answer: Not a problem.
"Obviously, this example highlights that federal law is embarrassingly out of touch and needs to catch up with the market," Polka added.
Proposed by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and former Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va), Local Choice would do away with the mandate that MVPDs must deliver each and every available broadcast network to their subscribers.
Under Local Choice, pay-TV operators would only have to make the channels available to customers, who would choose which ones they'd actually pay for.
This proposal, of course, has been highly unpopular with the National Association of Broadcasters.
Speaking to TV News Check last month, for example, NAB President Gordon Smith warned Polka and the ACA to back off the initative
"What I would say is what my mother used to tell me: when you would point your finger at somebody, there are three pointing back at you. So what's good for us is good for them," Smith said. 'That means a la carte. Out of respect for our friends in pay TV we have never pushed a la carte. I would just ask that they be careful as they push it on us because then they may get what they wish for and that involves everybody."
- read this Matthew Polka blog post
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