A La Carte Programming Not Likely To Happen Soon Despite Reported Push By Operators
If distributors push for a la carte programming, as was reported by Reuters last night, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Craig Moffett predicted nothing would happen any time soon. In a research note sent out this morning, Moffett said, "It's an appealing idea. But don't hold your breath. The impediment to a la carte has always been programmers, not distributors, and there is precious little the distributors can do to force them to unbundle" (John Ourand, THE DAILY). REUTERS' Yinka Adegoke in the initial report noted U.S. cable operators are "privately working on a plan to force programmers to unbundle their networks and allow customers to subscribe to channels on an individual basis." The plan "represents a complete reversal from cable operators' long-held opposition" to a la carte programming. Suddenlink CEO Jerry Kent said, "We feel that some of those expensive channels should be offered a la carte so only those people who want to watch them actually pay for them." Adegoke noted the plan is "motivated in part by the high cost of sports programming rights, which have skyrocketed in recent years" (REUTERS, 9/27).