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Dolan On Target About A La Carte

You can always count on the Dolans, Cablevision Systems Corp.'s controlling family, to fly in the face of conventional cable industry wisdom. Cablevision Chairman Charles Dolan didn't disappoint, breaking with other MSOs on the issue of making cable programming available to consumers on an a la carte basis, as recommended this week by the FCC. Other MSOs screamed bloody murder about the idea, but true to form, Dolan today said in a statement: "Cablevision agrees with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's assertion before the Senate Commerce Committee on November 29 that the opportunity to purchase programming on an a la carte basis would be in the best interests of consumers. Like Chairman Martin, we do not believe in the long term that selling programming a la carte will be detrimental to either programmers or cable operators.' 'On the contrary, our experience indicates a la carte will result in a more affordable service for all with more programming options. The Chairman's approach, in our view, is consistent with the best traditions of retailing in this country. Consumers should not be obliged directly or indirectly to buy services they do not want. Cablevision has expressed its support for a la carte over the years and in earlier testimony to Congress. We hope Chairman Martin's remarks encourage a move by the industry in this direction." Other MSOs are whining that allowing subscribers to purchase their favorite cable channels individually, rather than in massive tiers, would destroy the underlying economic model of cable TV. Nonsense. It is a particularly laughable assertion given aggressive maneuvers by MSOs to make as much programming as possible available via video on demand (VOD) -- the ultimate implementation of a la carte, as it lets subscribers purchase individual programs, let alone networks. Way to go Chuck, a cable executive with enough chutzpah to call it as he sees it.
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