Senate Committee Rejects Cable 'a la Carte' Pricing

gdarwin

gdarwin

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From: http://www.tvweek.com/news.cms?newsId=10281

Senate Committee Rejects Cable 'a la Carte' Pricing

Panel to Take Up Net Neutrality Later Today

By Ira Teinowitz
The Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday rejected Arizona Sen. John McCain's latest attempt to require cable companies to allow customers to pay for only the channels they choose.

Committee members voted 20-2 to reject McCain's proposal on so-called a la carte cable pricing, keeping the provision out of legislation that will ease the way for phone companies to field television services. Senators on Wednesday were discussing additions to the bill, which may bring the biggest changes in broadcast rules since the Telecom Reform Act of 1996.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association said it was "very pleased" with the defeat of the ala carte amendment.

"[We] will continue to oppose unnecessary government regulation of the pricing and packaging of video services, which most studies show will diminish diversity in programming and result in higher prices for fewer channels," the group said in a statement.

The defeat of Mr. McCain's amendment doesn't spell the end for a la carte proposals. Two powerful senators promised the cable industry that a la carte pricing will become the norm.

"As a consumer, this is something that is going to come," said Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss. "I would urge the industry to get on with this, because it is going to come. This is the last time I am going to vote against it."

Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, also promised that "A la carte will come."

Sen. McCain argued for a la carte, saying cable companies have exploited a monopoly position in some markets to force unwanted channels on consumers.

"Why have cable companies and programmers refused to give consumers what they want?" Mr. McCain said. "Because they are the only game in town and they don't have to."

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, was the only member of the committee to join Sen. McCain in supporting his a la carte amendment.

McCain said the current cable pricing system is unfair to consumers.

"Why should we, at an ever-increasing cost, force people to accept programming they don't want to see?" he said. "We are paying more for channels consumers don't want and cable companies get away with it for a long time. People who are retirees … don't want to spend $3 for ESPN every month."

The committee this afternoon was slated to consider the most controversial part of the legislation: a proposal that would bar Internet service providers from giving faster access to Web content providers who pay more.

(Mods - move if necessary)
 
Van

Van

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I wonder what the wording was in the bill as well as what other items were atached to it that would have brought about such a large no vote, notice that a senator that voted no said this would be his last time voting in that manner.
 
A

aaronhoes

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gdarwin said:
"As a consumer, this is something that is going to come," said Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss. "I would urge the industry to get on with this, because it is going to come. This is the last time I am going to vote against it."
I agree with Van, what the heck is up with that remark? He is saying he agrees with the proposal but votes against it anyway. So, next time he'll be able to muster the energy to circle yes instead of no? There must have been more to it, or maybe they were using some of those Florida ballots. I would love to see this happen, even if I had to pay $1 per channel I would save a ton, since I would probably subscribe to about 10-20 channels. Although, that is a guess since I have no idea how much a change this big to package structure would affect pricing. There would probably be different prices for every channel. This may also increase the quality of programming on a lot of channels since all the sub-par channels will no longer be guaranteed subscribers jsut for putting out random garbage.
gdarwin said:
People who are retirees … don't want to spend $3 for ESPN every month.
These retirees might want to be careful what they wish for. If this does go through the very channels that they do want may not be available for very long if they are unpopular with everybody else. This could cause those networks to take a big hit to their funding. While ESPN will probably survive pretty easily.

On a side note, does anybody know if Dish and other providers have to pay to carry the various home shopping networks? Seems to me that these channels are 24 hour commercials, in which case they should be paying the consumer for subscribing to their channel. Maybe if this ever goes through, you can get a discount on your bill for each shopping channel you agree to take. Who in their right mind would pay somebody to sell them something?
 
pinkey2u

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(Origanally posted by aaronhoes) These retirees might want to be careful what they wish for. If this does go through the very channels that they do want may not be available for very long if they are unpopular with everybody else. This could cause those networks to take a big hit to their funding. While ESPN will probably survive pretty easily.

What category would you put retired people in...One statement from one member best describes all retired people as far as you are concerned?
 
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N

New_User_Name

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Let's hear it for the Republicans!
 
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aaronhoes

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pinkey2u said:
What category would you put retired people in...One statement from one member best describes all retired people as far as you are concerned?
The quote I used in my last post was from Senator McCain not a member, although I guess he could be a SatelliteGuys member for all I know. Anyway, the category I am putting them in is people who have retired from the workforce, aka retirees, specifically those in Arizona who are represented by McCain and don't like ESPN.

I don't agree that all retirees wouldn't want ESPN, I'm not sure why he would have picked this channel since I know quite a few that enjoy ESPN. Because McCain brought it up though, there must be some retirees in Arizona who dislike it enough to write their senator, just to let him know which TV channels they don't like. These are the people to whom I am referring.
 
miguelaqui

miguelaqui

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All who do not like this should go Canadian!!!!!!!!!
 
pinkey2u

pinkey2u

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aaronhoes said:
The quote I used in my last post was from Senator McCain not a member, although I guess he could be a SatelliteGuys member for all I know. Anyway, the category I am putting them in is people who have retired from the workforce, aka retirees, specifically those in Arizona who are represented by McCain and don't like ESPN.

I don't agree that all retirees wouldn't want ESPN, I'm not sure why he would have picked this channel since I know quite a few that enjoy ESPN. Because McCain brought it up though, there must be some retirees in Arizona who dislike it enough to write their senator, just to let him know which TV channels they don't like. These are the people to whom I am referring.
aaronhoes, sorry for me being an a------! I was having kind of a bad morning and as you can see it shows!!! Yeah, I also like the ESPN networks but I would like the A La Carte or "Freedom Of Choice" way of selecting the channels I watch. Myself, I subscribe to the HD Silver package with locals. Of all the channels offered with the HD Silver package plus locals, I watch probably about 20 channels from the HD Silver package and about 5 of the local channels. The cost of the HD Silver + locals is about $65.00. Now if I had a choice and could pick only the 20 channels plus maybe another 5 not shown on the Dish HD Silver package plus the 5 local channels should then bring my viewing total to about 30...I would then hope that I should be able to get these 30 channels (A La Carte) for the same $65.00 amount that I am charged for the Dish HD Silver Package + Locals as of now. Yeah, I am dreaming but you get my drift...as Dish states on their HD Silver Package site...Includes 25 HD channels plus over 200 standard channels...not with my viewing habits!!! As far as the TV channels that don't make it...I am all for it. If they can't sell their program package to the viewing public, then so be it, even if it is a TV channel I like!!!
 
SimpleSimon

SimpleSimon

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On a side note, does anybody know if Dish and other providers have to pay to carry the various home shopping networks? Seems to me that these channels are 24 hour commercials, in which case they should be paying the consumer for subscribing to their channel. Maybe if this ever goes through, you can get a discount on your bill for each shopping channel you agree to take. Who in their right mind would pay somebody to sell them something?
The shopping channels PAY the carrier, thereby (ya, dream on), keeping our costs down.
 
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SmityWhity

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Jun 8, 2006
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I feel strongly both ways!

Sen Lott is from Mississippi. I don't think they have many cables systems there, with the exception of a few somewhat populated cities, plus the Gulf coast which had cable systems until Katrina decided the place needed rewiring. And they have way less sport franchises than cable systems.

Generally, Mississippi is considered a poor state.

I believe Sen Lott used "retirees" to describe the poor, the unemployed, the retired, as well as any other group that may have a usually low and/or fixed income.

Becareful what you ask for! -- That is for sure.

If they would let me, I would order 3 channels, The Weather Channel, HNN, and the TV Guide Channel. After 30 minutes of TWC and HNN, you've seen it all. Then when I get bored, I could watch the TV Guide go round and round which changes every 30 minutes - and see what I'm not paying for.

Could cable companies stay in business at that rate?
Probably not, so you will have to pay more per channel than you are paying for now. And some channels will end up not being available at all because not enough paying demand for it.

With the envisioned decrease in total cable costs to consumers, down goes the amount of taxes collected. Then the counties/parishes/independent cities will have to raise the cable tax rates to keep doing whatever they do with the money. So back up goes your cable bill.

Although all the various Fed/State/Local telecommunication taxes have become excessive, maybe they ought to add one more tax so that they can provide quality cable service at a reasonable price to disadvantage citizens (retirees).

If the feds are going to force al la Carte pricing, they should also regulate pricing (and limit Federal/State/Local taxes).

I bet in the next few years, all cable, satellite, DSL, phones, and maybe OTA television, will have two-way smart cards that you plug in to record your usage so that you can be charge the appropriate taxes. Maybe education TV will be exempt.
 
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navychop

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Or we'll get "a la carte" in a whole new way- pay for service availability, for each STB, for DVR service, for dual tuner service, for no phone/internet connection - and THEN be charged per minute or fraction thereof for each channel we tune to. Different channels will have different rates, of course.

Then when people start dropping pay TV service, the companies will band together to close the libraries as unfair competition due to government subsidies.
 
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SmityWhity

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Then I'll have to use my Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Medicare, Medicaid, TriCare for Life, and/or Hillary Medical cards to check into the emergency room so that I can watch the news for free.
 

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