A La Carte
The Pitfalls of A La Carte
Fewer Choices, Less Diversity, Higher Prices
Cable’s method of delivering programming packages, with channels bundled into basic and digital tiers, has proven to provide both choice and quality to consumers. This model has enabled all programming networks, including niche networks that serve underserved audiences, to find and build an audience.
In recent years, a number of organizations have examined the idea of implementing an “a la carte,” or channels priced and ordered individually rather than from a selected bundle, and have found serious flaws in that suggestion. Several independent and industry studies have concluded that a la carte would offer no benefit to the vast majority of consumers and would, in fact, result in higher prices, less choice and less programming diversity.
These documents provide an overview of a la carte pricing and its potential impact on cable networks and consumers.
All problems are alleviated with the use of digital cable, which requires a set-top converter box. This converter can be programmed remotely to allow or disallow access to channels on an individual basis. The use of IPTV (i.e., delivery of television over an internet or IP-based network) makes it even easier, since the provisioning of channels can be fully automated.
[ learn more ]