Two members of the U.S. Senate are seeking to shake up the TV industry.
Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal has teamed with Arizona Senator John McCain to advance a bill that would end mandatory bundling of channels on cable and satellite TV services. The measure would allow subscription TV providers to offer customers so-called “a la carte” programming, the chance to pick the channels they would like to receive — and pay for, the Hollywood Reporter notes.
Blumenthal warmed to the idea of a la carte programming after becoming frustrated by programming restrictions that blacked out New York Giants football games on his own TV.
The bill has drawn fire from powerful media companies like Disney (DIS), CBS (CBS), Comcast‘s (CMCSA) NBCUniversal and News Corp.‘s (NWSA) FOX as well as industry organizations like the Motion Picture Association of America. Disney’s ESPN, which is based in the Blumenthal’s home state, defended the current system, insisting that, “an a la carte system would cost consumers significantly more money for dramatically less choice as evidenced by virtually every research and academic report prepared on this topic.”
So far, the broadcast industry appears to have little to worry about. No other senators have co-sponsored the bill and it is not seen as likely to garner any significant support in the House of Representatives.
Some cable and satellite companies, including Time Warner Cable (TWC), Dish Network (DISH) and DirecTV (DTV) have expressed support for measures promoting a la carte programming options.