Carey: A La Carte’s A ‘Farce’

Twenty-first Century Fox chief operating officer Chase Carey said out loud what most programming executives  have been thinking regarding the continued enthusiasm for a la carte offerings on the part of legislators, distributors  and consumer groups at an industry conference Tuesday.

“It’s a farce,” Carey said of a la carte at the UBS Global Media & Communications conference Tuesday. “Ala carte isn’t the answer.”

Carey said the a la carte issue has been a way for distributors to negotiate in public and drag Washington into the issue.

As distributors have complained of high programming costs, legislators like U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has proposed ala carte legislation, while industry analyst continue to point out that destroying the current model could lead to higher costs for consumers. In a report last week, Needham & Co. analyst Laura Martin wrote that a la carte could put $80 billion to $113 billion in consumer value at risk.

“The bundle is still a great proposition for the consumer when you compare it to the a world of $5 lattes and cell phone bills,” Carey said.

Carey added that TV Everywhere is the right path, but that the service has been poorly executed.

“We have not delivered on the promise that TV Everywhere should be,” Carey said.

The programming executive was high on its recently launched Fox Sports 1 and FXX channels, adding that while FS1 has some challenges, its fortunes should pick up and the Major League Baseball and NASCAR seasons near. He added that FXX recent purchase of rights to animated series The Simpsons won’t just be a ratings juggernaut for the channel, it will be a “defining force” for the network.