NCTA Responds to Pro-a-la-Carte Survey


Concerned Women for America -- which has 500,000 members and considers itself the largest public-policy women's organization -- released poll results Wednesday showing that parents do not want to pay cable companies for indecent programming as a condition of receiving channels that they think are appropriate for their children.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, however, was unimpressed.

“The opinion poll is badly flawed because those surveyed clearly weren't informed of the negative impact of a la carte,” NCTA senior director of communications Brian Dietz said in a prepared statement.

“Our guess is that if consumers were asked whether they'd prefer to have cable or satellite service for free, they'd also answer with a resounding ‘yes,’" Dietz added. “The fact is that cable consumers couldn't enjoy the diversity of programming they have today if programmers had to sell and package their services in an a la carte manner.”

In a press release April 29, CWA chief counsel Jan LaRue said, “Americans have no choice in selecting their basic-cable package under the current market controls. The people voted for choice in our poll, and we're asking cable companies and Congress to listen to the people.”

Dietz countered, “As pointed out by many network executives and entrepreneurs, a la carte packaging and pricing would halt efforts to launch diverse new channels. It also would further diminish diversity, limit choice, raise prices among channels that currently exist and turn back the clock on a marketplace that has blossomed with wide choice and great value for American consumers.”