Sunday, May 12, 2013

Stop the presses! A republican has done something sensible!

John McCain has introduced a bill that would encourage (not require) cable companies to offer unbundled services.  It's all carrot, no stick: cable companies currently enjoy compulsory copyright licensing of broadcast channels.  McCain's bill makes that license contingent on offering a-la-carte channel selection.

Of course, a better (and less hypocritical) approach would be to remove the regulatory barriers to entry that prevent competitors from entering the market.  (Hey, a bot can dream.)  But short of that, this is better than nothing.

I thought this was noteworthy because it is so rare that a Republican does something that isn't completely moronic.  I'm sure it's not unprecedented, but I can't remember the last time it happened.


Don Geddis said...

You have such faith in regulation! Without attempting to choose sides myself, let me just offer that there's a possible argument that channel bundling is not just a case of evil monopoly rents. And, in particular, that a naive guess as to how much you might save with unbundling may be vastly overestimated.

Don Geddis said...

Also: Paying for channels you never watch.

People's naive economic intuitions often don't match the reality of how businesses really work.

Ron said...

I don't actually care if I would save money by unbundling. That's not the point. The point is: I want to have the choice, because if I have the choice then -- and only then -- the market can work to sort out what people really want.

Actually, what I *really* really want is for everything to be video-on-demand (which is why I'm a very happy Netflix subscriber). There's really no reason in this day and age for anything but the news and sports to be scheduled.