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In Defense of the Prix Fixe Menu

BY Richard Morrison
by Richard Morrison on 8/20/07.

Our old pal Peter Suderman, now writing for FreedomWorks, has a great takedown of the argument for “a la carte” cable pricing up at CNET today:

At a recent communications forum in Aspen, Colo., Kevin Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, once again announced his support for imposing federal authority over how your video programming company packages its lineup. Martin would force providers to offer channels on an “a la carte,” or per-channel basis, replacing the current system in which subscribers buy bundled packages. He claims that such a rule would aid parents in fighting objectionable content, and that it would allow consumers to pay only for the channels they want, ostensibly saving them money.
Sounds nice, right? Too bad enacting such a law would be counterproductive on all fronts. Never mind that it’s simply absurd for the government to be puttering around in America’s television sets, as if there’s some enumerated right to a certain type of TV. Martin’s line that it’s a tool to fight indecency is just a pander to interest-group outrage. And, far from being easy on consumer pocketbooks, a la carte would force consumers to pay more for less–all while barricading opportunities for the development of new channels.

Of course, CEI has had plenty to say on the issue as well.