McCain Vs. Cable
Comcast SportsNet Houston faces yet another obstacle: A la carte pricing changes the game
The way you pay for cable television may soon change if Sen. John McCain gets his way. The Arizona senator has introduced the Television Consumer Freedom Act which would allow consumers to subscribe to only the channels they specficially want a la carte instead of having to pay for packages of channels they’ll never watch.
No more paying for ESPN for those not interested sports or WE for viewers who are not interested in Bridezillas.
Senator McCain recently wrote an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times, noting:
Many industries over the years — from the stagecoach builders and saddle makers to those who made the eight-track tape and the Sony Walkman — didn’t much like the change forced on them by the tide of history. Sooner or later, companies standing in the way today will face a similar choice: Meet consumers’ demands or become obsolete.”
Locally, the interesting question is what would happen with Comcast SportsNet Houston. As many frustrated sports fans know, CSN Houston has not had much luck being picked up by a number of the major cable providers. If this bill passes, CSN Houston will be in the position of having fans choose whether or not they want to watch the games and the other ancillary programming the channel provides.
The sports channel has been adamant about being made available to every subscriber on the basic service level and being compensated for that number. That all becomes a moot point if McCain’s proposed bill actually becomes law.
More and more, we are living in an on-demand world. Services like iTunes, Netflix and Hulu are proving that consumers want what they want when they want it. It’s time for the cable industry to take a hard look at where this is going and get ahead of the curve before it goes the way of the 8-track.