While the multi-billion-dollar entertainment industry continues to hold consumers hostage to its forced extortion of channel “bundling,” more and more voices in the cable industry itself are supporting the rights of customers to pay only for what they watch.
Greg Maffei is the CEO of Liberty Media, a company which owns substantial stakes in various media properties, ranging from the Barnes & Noble bookstore chain, to QVC to Expedia. Among its holdings are at 27% stake in Charter Communications, the fourth-largest cable company in the nation. Like other cable and media leaders, Maffei stands firmly behind the concept of Cable Choice – over the objections of the heads of the entertainment industry’s mega-conglomerates, who stand to profit by the current system. At a recent conference Maffei noted that the huge rate increases and new channels forced on consumers by the entertainment industry are a threat to the entire media landscape. “When you see what’s going in on places like Los Angeles with eight regional sports networks, you threaten that benign feedback loop and it’s not a good thing,” Maffei said, going so far as to add that if the industry doesn’t begin being more friendly to consumers soon, the government may take action. Maffei also applauded Senator John McCain’s Television Consumer Freedom Act.
With a nation full of fed-up consumers and ever-more people inside cable companies themselves seeing the logic in giving customers Cable Choice, soon the entertainment industry will either be forced to act…or be confronted with its own extinction.