Is "A la carte" Cable Coming Soon?

A new bill in the House, introduced as a way to force the offering of "family-friendly" content, also includes provisions for being able to cancel one channel at a time to save the cost of distribution. The bill would require such a new tier of content to not show any TV-MA or TV-14 content between the hours of 6AM and 10PM for all expanded basic channels. The bill could also restrict when "obscene" content could be shown.

Even with the emphasis on a la carte, only about 53% of consumers would be interested and their pricing expectations are steep. Many would want to pay just $24/mo for 26 channels compared to twice as much for 100 channels with most packages. The proposed bill would allow customers to only save the costs of distributing a channel when canceling it, something I would imagine cable and satellite companies don't want floating out in the wild.

It gets pretty complex once you consider how cable operators pay for channels. ABC, for instance, usually offers a discount for carrying the local affiliate in exchange for carrying some of the Disney stations that aren't nearly as popular. Given deals like that, cable operators might actually be in a hard spot between consumer demand and content producer's demands.

(See full articles here and here.)

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