For decades, the vast conglomerates that control the entertainment industry force cable companies to buy “bundles” of channels – which in turn forces pay-TV subscribers to purchase hundreds of channels they don’t want. The situation has gotten so bad, even owners of major cable companies are protesting it.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, at this year’s annual Cable Show (an assemblage of leaders in the cable industry), Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt told his fellow cable bosses that today’s cable “bundles” are too expensive – particularly for lower-income households, such as recent college grads or those who are out of work. Commenting on Senator John McCain’s Television Consumer Freedom Act (which would mandate an ala carte approach, rather than the current “bundling”), Britt said, “I think it’s what consumers want, so we’re going to have to do that…People are starting to pay attention to the fact that the multichannel TV package is starting to get too expensive.” And during TWC’s recent clash with CBS, Britt reiterated that his company would be willing to carry CBS “on an a la carte basis [which] would allow customers to decide for themselves how much value they ascribe” to various networks.
That fact that even the head of a major cable company says that cable prices are too high and that “bundling” functions unfairly absolutely eviscerates the entertainment industry’s argument that the “free market” is already being served.