Market Forces, Not Sen. McCain, Should Promote 'A La Carte' Cable Option

Market Forces, Not Sen. McCain, Should Promote 'A La Carte' Cable Option

For years now I’ve been using the pages of Big Hollywood to call for the end of the evil that is bundled cable and satellite programming–the monster that forces us to purchase ungodly expensive television packages loaded with channels we never watch.

What is especially immoral about this practice is that many of these channels we never watch end up getting some of our money, including channels hostile to who we are–like MSNBC and CNN.

Knowing this, you might think I’m thrilled with legislation Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is about to propose that will pressure providers to offer channels on an a la carte basis. But unless there is some proof that cable and satellite companies, along with television stations, are conspiring to create this evil, we don’t need the government poking their big, fat nose into this.

McCain’s legislation goes even further. The sports blackout rule on local teams would likely be dropped and any broadcast network that pulls their over-the-air programming and moves to cable-only would have their license revoked. This is something Fox threatened after Aereo won a major court case allowing them to offer a streaming service of any channel available over the public airwaves.

Everything McCain is proposing is on my wish-list. But I don’t want the government making my wish-lists come true when it comes to the free market. Because of Aereo and providers like Netflix, there are market forces that will eventually force these changes, if that is what people want. That is always the best way to nudge the market. 

Whenever the government forces change we, the consumer, almost always end up dealing with the law of unintended consequences–which is never pretty.


Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC