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A la carte cable?

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Coyote at Coyote Blog doesn't like the idea of a la carte cable:

I see that the drive to force cable companies to offer their basic cable package a la carte rather than as a bundle is gaining steam again.  This is the dumbest regulatory step imaginable, and will reduce the number of interesting niche choices on cable.

For some reason, it is terribly hard to convince people of this.  In fact, supporters of this regulation argue just the opposite.  They argue that this is a better plan for folks who only are passionate about, say, the kite-flying channel, because they only have to pay for the channel they want rather than all of basic cable to get this one station.   This is a fine theory, but it only works if the kite-flying channel still exists in the new regulatory regime.  Let me explain.

I think where we're headed is a la carte programs, not just a la carte channels.  We're far too focused on cable tv channels, which are a legacy of the regulated radio and television broadcast stations that some of us grew up with before the cable explosion of the 1970's.  Channels in an age of digital information are inefficient and expensive--in terms of both the bandwidth needed by the cable companies, and in the dozens of completely unwatched channels which the individual consumer has to pay for, in order to watch what he or she really wants to watch.  It makes as much sense for a sports-hating housewife to pay for ESPN as it does for me to pay for Lifetime Movies.