The Senate Commerce Committee has rejected Sen. John McCain's latest attempt to force cable operators to unbundle their offerings and allow users to pick which channels they wish to pay for and receive. For those who haven't been playing along, the concept is cable "a la carte," and nearly all cable companies (with the notable exception of Cablevision) are opposed to it. Cable companies argue that each channel has different licensing fees--ESPN, for example, is comparatively expensive. Other networks, like the less-popular Oxygen, say the bundled offering allows channel surfers to discover their content. Those in favor of "a la carte" say the operators should facilitate more personalization and allow users to decide what they want to pay for and watch. While government regulation on this front is a potential overstep, telcos should see the decision as a victory too and opportunity to introduce a new pricing paradigm.
For more on the failed cable "a la carte" initiative:
- see this article from TVWeek