Solis wants a full buffet menu


Yet another Democratic legislator has been working the keyboard. This time it is US Rep Hilda Solis (D-CA), a member of the Energy & Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. She recently wrote an article for the San Francisco Chronicle on the topic of a la carte cable menus. She said, right in the title, "I'll take the buffet." She noted proponents of a la carte, including Kevin Martin, and mentioned PTC's founder, saying, "Self-described media critic Brent Bozell has said that per-channel-charges would help sift out what he sees as objectionable programming – like MTV."

However, she thinks the arguments in favor of a la carte are specious. "But a close look at the idea of a la carte pricing shows that it would be a disaster for consumers. Most consumers would pay more for less, as the sweeping rules would decimate small and niche cable channels while raising prices." She said studies show that it would be even more disastrous for a lot of channels that rely on bundling and casual channel surfers for survival.

"Indeed, virtually every study by private firms and government agencies – including an earlier, more comprehensive study by the FCC – have concluded that a la carte will raise prices for consumers who watch more than 11 channels, and kill small, minority, women and niche programmers." She notes that like the media consolidation issue, a la carte has brought left and right together in opposition, and called it "…a bad deal for consumers and a poison pill for the cause of media diversity."

RBR observation: We agree. Push the parental control technology and leave the business model alone.