Hours after we dispatched last week's newsletter with the lead story on why a la carte cable would benefit IPTV providers, Forbes ran "Dolan Likes Idea of A La Carte Cable," the New York Post got cute with "Dolan Dining A La Carte," and The Washington Post cleared things up with "Cablevision's Dolan Backs 'A La Carte' Cable." Chuck D and I seem to share more than just a surname. The other Dolan broke ranks with his cable pals and made a push for a la carte pricing on the grounds that the consumer would benefit from the choice. Time Warner Cable (which, by the way, just passed the 1 million mark for its VoIP service) warned that a la carte could drive ESPN's price up to $20 per month! Such fear-mongering will seem ridiculous to consumers in a few years.
The pricing paradigm will have to change and telcos should lead the way. TWC and Comcast are reportedly constructing a family tier of channels to quell the indecency debate. Remember? That's what spurred this whole a la carte discussion. With the $17.6 billion Adelphia deal still on the table, of course, the two companies are looking to please the FCC. - Brian Dolan