À la Carte: Good Slogan, Bad Policy

"À La Carte is a great bumper sticker because people say, 'Why should you pay for channels you don't watch?" National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Kyle McSlarrow told a crowd of cable marketers Tuesday, but "the business model is one that the channels you don't watch pay for the ones you do watch.

"À La carte means you pay more for less," he said, adding, "Even in Washington, I don't think that is viewed as an ideal public-policy outcome."

His point, made to a roomful of cable marketers at the Cable Television Public Affairs Association annual forum in Washington, was that it was up to the industry to walk policymakers through that argument.

"I think that à la carte is presumptious," he said in a morning Q&A session. "I think that the idea that government knows better how the marketplace should be handled is not supported by any evidence."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.