May 31, 2004

A la carte cable? [11:45 am]

Not sure it’ll get me to buy it, but it’s interesting to see th development: Need ESPN but Not MTV? Some Push for That Option

“If you go to the 7-Eleven to buy a quart of milk, you are not forced to take a six pack of beer, too,” said Mr. Bozell, who wants the right to buy only the channels he and his family watch.

The issue of à la carte pricing is a headache that the cable companies and networks have long tried to avoid. But now, cable pricing is coming under new scrutiny in Washington in a debate driven by Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona and the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and greatly inflamed by the indecency debate and lobbyists like Mr. Bozell.

Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of members of the House Commerce Committee, led by its chairman Joe L. Barton, Republican from Texas, and Nathan Deal, Republican from Georgia, asked the Federal Communications Commission chairman, Michael K. Powell, to review the feasibility of à la carte pricing and to provide its findings to the House committee by mid-November.

Ernest points out that he’s discussed this earlier, with an invitation to help on preparing comments for the FCC: FCC Requests Comments on a la Carte Cable Subscriptions

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