John McCain Wants Pay Channels Sold Individually, Not In Bundles

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Ah, but there is a difference.
Municipalities have granted a monopoly to cable operators to provide services, although this is lately becoming diluted by uverse, fios and the satellite companies entering.
A decade ago I'd agree with you. The advent of satellite gives "choice" to 90% of consumers.
However, program providers are still restricting competition and available packaging by requiring channels to be not only bundled, but also placed in certain basic packages. A cable or satellite company finds itself faced with the situation where ABC insists that to get ESPN, they must also carry ABC Family and Soapnet at the basic cable level. Since each carrier feels that they must have ESPN available, they must cave and accept the package. The high infrastructure cost used to prevent new entry into the market, but now entry is being prevented by the collusion you describe in that internet-only packages are being forbidden by the major carriers.
I agree with you (except I never described collusion, so I don't know where you're going there).

This is a case where the government has allowed a predatory monopoly to be established and can only be solved through regulation. Think of this much the same way as the relationships between US Steel, Standard Oil and the railrods that led to Sherman anti-trust in the first place.
I'm sorry, I don't see it as a monopoly. I can choose my local cable provider, Dish, or Direct. Not a lot of choices, but there are choices.
 
Law of supply and demand. If it's worth the price then people will pay with their discretionary income to subscribe to this channel. If not, they will drop it a hot potato and find something else to watch. Even better...make all channels that accept advertising dollars free-of-charge to all licensed MVPDs. Good programming will draw millions of viewers and the programmers can charge lot of money for ad time. I like this model. :)
Wait, it's ok to say "let people choose to pay" under your model, but when I say "let people choose to pay" under the current model, that's wrong?

While I appreciate your wish, I don't think it's realistic. First, pick a network. They give up their "subscription" costs and charge more for advertising. Now, those advertisers that are willing to pay more need to up the costs for their items. That extra revenue needs to come from somewhere.

We have "supply and demand" now. As jayn_j pointed out, ESPN is in such demand Disney can require MVPDs get a bundle of channels, AND still charge a premium. But MVPD's don't dare drop ESPN because they know they would lose a LOT of viewers. Isn't that "supply and demand"?
 
But Disney can and does demand high rates and commercial time for Soapnet if advertisers want slots on ESPN. That is NOT supply and demand. That is extortion. "Youse can have the pool table, but youse gotta take the juke box too"
 
Wait, it's ok to say "let people choose to pay" under your model, but when I say "let people choose to pay" under the current model, that's wrong?

I'm sorry but take it or leave it, our rules and our way, is not much of a choice. I see 250 channels in the lineup yet I can only subscribe to them based on the configurations that are being dictated by the programmers and MVPDs? For example, let's assume I have an OTA antenna and only watch Fox News, Fox Movie Channel and NFL Redzone on cable. In order to have my three channels the MVPD requires that I subscribe to their Top 250 Tier. WTF? Plus, the programmers also extort my paying $30 for the ESPN Channels and "Cable Favorites" I don't watch, as well as having the broadcasters squeezing another $3-4 bucks out of me for the locals...when I don't even need them because I have a UHF/VHF antenna!

How is taking all 250 channels and paying $150 per month or nothing a choice when all I want is to watch the three aforementioned channels? Granted, it technically is a choice....but a PISS POOR choice and a waste of everyone's money. Given your model, let's say I go to a restaurant and wish to order an entree off the menu. However, the waiter tells me that I am required to order ALL menu items (even foods that I may not like or have a food allergy to) to include sides, desserts and beverages. I guess my option would be to go to another restaurant, but they too enforce the same 'all or nothing' policy. Additionally, since the food supply is controlled by a handful of agencies who only sell to restaurants, I cannot sustain myself through other means. I guess I could steal, but that's another story. Anyway, I either pay the restaurant for foods that I don't want nor can I eat, or I starve to death. Given the current cable industry model, you're advocating that we pay BIG BUCKS to stuff our pie-holes with an unhealthy amount of garbage or starve. That's not my definition of choice and the rules need to change in favor of the consumer.

I'll pass on the cable pig fest. Instead, I' prefer to pay for the programming/channels I watch and not one red cent to programming I do not want. Again, nobody is advocating against bundled offerings, but let the consumer decided if they wish to subscribe to the mega-packs as an option and not as an industry mandate. :hatsoff:
 
really at $3-4 a day what a great choice we Now have for entertainment. about the cost of 1 beer at a bar.
and the people speak with their wallet on most items here ...they have...... save gov & taxes those are taken out of our wallets.
 
The problem is people are being force fed the same unpalatable deal from Comcast, Time-Warner, DirecTV, Dish Network, AT&T, Verizon, etc. Never mind! The Cable pundits say we should be ecstatic so who am I to complain. Silly me! :rolleyes:
First, please show me where ANYONE has said you should be "ecstatic" over the deal. I never said you should feel good about it, I never said the choices you have are good ones. I've said MULTIPLE times I'm at least interested in ala carte. I told you how I'd like to see it work. I am worried about the cost though.

As far as your restaurant analogy goes... that happens every time I take my family out to eat. Something (usually a side) gets ordered because it comes with the meal. It sits untouched on the plate. Should I not be charged if I don't eat it? Should I go to the government and say "make them charge individually for their items"?

Since we all like analogies so much... I take the family to Disney World. I pay for everyone to go into the park. That admission gets me access to every ride. However, there are some rides we don't go on. I think they're either a waste of time or just "not my style". Should I get a discount on the admission ticket because I don't go on some rides?

I only have two points...
1) If you don't think you're getting enough for your money, cancel. NO ONE is forcing you into this deal. It's up to you to decide if the $150/month is worth it to you. If it's not worth it, don't pay it.
2) I don't think government should be regulating businesses unless someones health or safety is at risk.
 
First, please show me where ANYONE has said you should be "ecstatic" over the deal. I never said you should feel good about it, I never said the choices you have are good ones. I've said MULTIPLE times I'm at least interested in ala carte. I told you how I'd like to see it work. I am worried about the cost though.

The Cable mantra for the past 10+ is that consumers should be ecstatic with the choices being made for them by the Cable industry, and that they are providing us with a tremendous value. That may be true for some, but complete hogwash for the vast majority. This fact has been well documented in statements made by the NCTA and their members to the FCC over the years.

Should I get a discount on the admission ticket because I don't go on some rides?

You have many other choices as to how you spend your entertainment dollars to include going to another amusement park, spending your money at a fair or carnival (and pay per ride) or not attending an amusement park and instead putting a boat in the water, etc. - the possibilities are endless. Additionally, while 5-10 million people may attend an amusement park each year, I would say that close to 300 million people watch television programming in their homes each month, if not on a daily basis. People rely on Cable for local news, global information and certainly for entertainment. Let's face it...cable is practically a utility in most homes and a very different commodity than a seasonal amusement park.

1) If you don't think you're getting enough for your money, cancel. NO ONE is forcing you into this deal. It's up to you to decide if the $150/month is worth it to you. If it's not worth it, don't pay it.

True, I didn't have any form of television for more than 6-years at one point in my life. We could actually live quite nicely with my OTA antennas since 70% of our programming is from the network broadcasters. However, I want my sports (ESPN and NBCSPORTS) and Fox News. How is "You Must Pay $150 for three channels" (albeit from Dish, Comcast, Verizon, etc.) a choice when I cannot get these channels any other way? It is not a consumer friendly (or even fair) system.

2) I don't think government should be regulating businesses unless someones health or safety is at risk.

I agree with limited government regulation and interference. However, government serves a purpose when it comes to breaking monopolies and ensuring free market practices such as collusion and oligopolies. We don't need government to regulate as much as we need them to ensure the Cable industry stops these unfair anti-consumer practices they've been permitted to operate under the past 20+ years.

Also, what about insider trading? Since this practice only involves swindling investors our of millions or billions of dollars (affecting their lives and livelihood) and does not directly impact the health or safety of citizens, should we shut-down the SEC? Of course not. We need minimal and effective laws and regulations to keep abusers in check. Right now the American Public is being abused by Cable, which needs to stop. That's why I applaud Senator McCain for attempting to get to get the ball rolling in the right direction.
 
The Cable mantra for the past 10+ is that consumers should be ecstatic with the choices being made for them by the Cable industry, and that they are providing us with a tremendous value. That may be true for some, but complete hogwash for the vast majority. This fact has been well documented in statements made by the NCTA and their members to the FCC over the years.
Can you name ONE company that doesn't tell it's customers they should be happy and they're getting a great value? What do you want them to say?

You have many other choices as to how you spend your entertainment dollars to include going to another amusement park, spending your money at a fair or carnival (and pay per ride) or not attending an amusement park and instead putting a boat in the water, etc. - the possibilities are endless. Additionally, while 5-10 million people may attend an amusement park each year, I would say that close to 300 million people watch television programming in their homes each month, if not on a daily basis. People rely on Cable for local news, global information and certainly for entertainment. Let's face it...cable is practically a utility in most homes and a very different commodity than a seasonal amusement park.
Yes, there are other places I can go, but they don't offer the rides, attractions, or "ambiance" that Disney does. In the same vane, YOU also have many other choices on how you spend your entertainment dollars... you can buy, rent, or borrow DVDs. You can go to the movies. You can go see theatrical productions. As far as informational sources, you can get a newspaper (either paper or electronic), you can use the internet. You can listen to the radio. And I'm sorry, I disagree on cable being a utility. You even said you went 6 years with no TV. I don't think many people could survive for that length of time with no water or electric (and yes, I'm sure there are a few who do so).
However, I want my sports (ESPN and NBCSPORTS) and Fox News. How is "You Must Pay $150 for three channels" (albeit from Dish, Comcast, Verizon, etc.) a choice when I cannot get these channels any other way? It is not a consumer friendly (or even fair) system.
Paying $150 for three channels is ABSOLUTELY a choice for something you want. If they charged $500 for the package that included those three, would you pay for it? There's a price point that each consumer needs to decide if the product is worth the cost. Television programming is no different. Oh, and I never claimed it was consumer friendly.
I agree with limited government regulation and interference. However, government serves a purpose when it comes to breaking monopolies and ensuring free market practices such as collusion and oligopolies. We don't need government to regulate as much as we need them to ensure the Cable industry stops these unfair anti-consumer practices they've been permitted to operate under the past 20+ years.

Also, what about insider trading? Since this practice only involves swindling investors our of millions or billions of dollars (affecting their lives and livelihood) and does not directly impact the health or safety of citizens, should we shut-down the SEC? Of course not. We need minimal and effective laws and regulations to keep abusers in check. Right now the American Public is being abused by Cable, which needs to stop. That's why I applaud Senator McCain for attempting to get to get the ball rolling in the right direction.
Insider trading & collusion (the latter has been thrown out a lot in this thread) are illegal in ANY industry. If you have proof (or even suspicion) of collusion, why not report it to the appropriate authorities?
 
Can you name ONE company that doesn't tell it's customers they should be happy and they're getting a great value? What do you want them to say?

Any truly great company will strive for customer satisfaction,they listen to their customers and are always trying to improve.Any company that simply insists consumers should be grateful for what they offer,never listening to the customer isn't a great company.They are most likely in a position of power to where they could care less what the customer thinks.That is the problem with the current structure of pay tv.
 
Any truly great company will strive for customer satisfaction,they listen to their customers and are always trying to improve.Any company that simply insists consumers should be grateful for what they offer,never listening to the customer isn't a great company.They are most likely in a position of power to where they could care less what the customer thinks.That is the problem with the current structure of pay tv.
I'll agree with everything except the last sentence. But from reading your post (among others), it sounds like you're not happy with whatever provider you're doing business with. There's nothing wrong with that, but if you are so unsatisfied, why do you keep handing over your hard earned money to them? If your provider decided to up your rate to $500/month, would you say "oh well, I have to have <insert favorite network here>"? I'm guessing not.

The companies are in business to make money. They are going to charge as much as they can without scaring off too many customers. Isn't that what a business should do?
 
Oh I'm happy with Dish as a company,am I happy about ever increasing prices,definitely not.The increases are due to ever increasing programming costs,which no provider can control.

The companies are in business to make money. They are going to charge as much as they can without scaring off too many customers. Isn't that what a business should do?

I just have to ask.Have you ever been in business for yourself?I have,the object isn't to make as much as possible without scaring too many off.The object is to offer something for a fair price,while making a profit.Small business's up their prices too much guess what happens?They go out of business.The broadcasters don't have to worry,they control the market,no real competition.
 
Oh I'm happy with Dish as a company,am I happy about ever increasing prices,definitely not.The increases are due to ever increasing programming costs,which no provider can control.



I just have to ask.Have you ever been in business for yourself?I have,the object isn't to make as much as possible without scaring too many off.The object is to offer something for a fair price,while making a profit.Small business's up their prices too much guess what happens?They go out of business.The broadcasters don't have to worry,they control the market,no real competition.
Wouldn't the bolded happen no matter the size of the company? Why does it only happen to small businesses? Granted, small businesses may feel the pinch quicker, but any company who ups their prices too much will go out of business.

And 'broadcasters don't have competition'? Which broadcasters are you talking about? They ALL compete for eye balls on their product. Not only are they competing against each other, they're competing against the internet and they're competing against DVDs. Oh, wait, I know, all the broadcasters are in collusion with one another. :rolleyes:
 
Agreed. I want to see the consumer set the fair market price they are willing to pay for a channel (i.e., law of supply and demand) and every customer pay the same amount regardless if they're being serviced by Comcast, DirecTV, Verizon, etc.
The failing in this theory is that the consumers don't get a direct say in the matter. If they want a channel, they have to subscribe to whatever bundle includes it. An individual isn't going to be able to convince Cox or DISH that they should be able to get a channel a la carte if the carrier is contractually prohibited from offering it that way.
 
Wouldn't the bolded happen no matter the size of the company? Why does it only happen to small businesses? Granted, small businesses may feel the pinch quicker, but any company who ups their prices too much will go out of business.

And 'broadcasters don't have competition'? Which broadcasters are you talking about? They ALL compete for eye balls on their product. Not only are they competing against each other, they're competing against the internet and they're competing against DVDs. Oh, wait, I know, all the broadcasters are in collusion with one another. :rolleyes:

When one broadcaster owns 15 different channels how is that competition?Oligopoly is the key word.
 
When one broadcaster owns 15 different channels how is that competition?
Because there's competition with the other broadcaster(s) who own 15 channels? How many competitors do you need until there's competition? Even if only two broadcasters owned every channel, wouldn't there still be competition between them?

Oligopoly is the key word.
THAT I will grant you. But it is far from the only oligopoly industry.
 

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