Court tosses lawsuit that would force a la carte pricing from cable and satellite companies

Categories: TV Business

Written By

October 21st, 2009

via Multichannel News:

After two years of winding through the federal courts, an anti-trust lawsuit in California claiming cable and satellite TV operators and programmers harmed consumers by not offering channels a la carte has been dismissed, though the attorney for the plaintiffs vows an appeal.

"That was the plan from the beginning," said plaintiffs' attorney Maxwell Blecher, of Los Angeles. "Whichever side lost was going to appeal. That's what we plan to do and I'm pretty comfortable we're going to get it overturned."

That could take some time. Blecher said that the California federal courts are clogged with immigration cases, so an appeal could take anywhere between 18 months to 2 years.

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Though I am on the bandwagon for a la carte pricing as much as the next guy (especially with recent hikes to my cable pricing) it's a complex issue.  One bad outcome of bundled pricing is you wind up paying for a lot of channels you don't actually want.   But one good outcome of bundled pricing, I believe, is that there are a lot more channels available than there would be if things were priced exclusively on an a la carte basis.

So, while a part of me is ticked off I'm paying for literally dozens of channels that I never watch, a part of me likes that there are so many channels available.  I might by subsidizing your viewing of HGTV and Lifetime, but you're subsidizing my viewing of MLB Network and ESPN News.

Without bundled pricing it's possible that none of those channels would even exist!

 
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