John McCain is going to release a bill that would dismantle cable as its currently constructed, Brenden Sasso at The Hill reports.
The legislation would force cable companies and satellite TV providers to give consumers an option to pick and choose which channels they get. This is called a-la-carte programming, and its long been a dream of consumers who only want a handful of channels.
McCain tried to introduce similar legislation in 2006 and it went nowhere.
The TV industry is going to fight this legislation. It likes bundling 300 channels together and forcing consumers to pay a big monthly bill.
In their defence, the bundling allows niche channels to flourish, and it probably is a fair price if you total up all those channels you get.
Still, it’s annoying to subsidise the cost of six different versions ESPN if you hate sports. As a consumer it would be great to choose the channels you want and pay a fair price for those channels.
In addition to breaking up the bundles, McCain’s bill will prevent big media companies from using broadcast channels as leverage for negotiations with cable companies. So, Disney couldn’t tell Comcast it has to pay $8 per subscriber for ESPN if it wants to get access to ABC. Both ABC and ESPN are owned by Disney.
McCain will also try to prevent TV blackouts for sports and protect Aereo, the upstart TV company that delivers TV channels to mobile devices.