A La Carte – Fewer Choices, Less Diversity, Higher Prices

Issue Name:

A La Carte


Cable’s method of delivering programming networks via packages – with channels bundled into a wide variety of basic and premium tiers – provides consumers with significant choice, quality content and the best overall value. This model has enabled hundreds of programming networks, including niche networks that seek underserved viewers, to find and build an audience.

About 100 million American households subscribe to cable or another multichannel video provider which offer consumers relatively similar video packages. This method of delivering TV to consumers allows viewers the opportunity to discover new networks and programs based on word of mouth, critical acclaim, or by surfing through channels, rather than having to decide in advance the entire list of programs and networks they may want to watch.

A number of organizations have examined the idea of implementing an “a la carte,” or channels priced and ordered individually rather than from a selected bundle, and have found serious flaws in that suggestion. Several government, independent and industry studies have concluded that a la carte would offer no benefit to the vast majority of consumers and would, in fact, result in higher prices, less choice and less programming diversity.