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Cable and Satellite TV companies face lawsuit over channel 'bundles'

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 22 Sep 2007 14:06 User comments (13)

Cable and Satellite TV companies face lawsuit over channel 'bundles' According to a lawsuit filed on Thursday in Los Angeles, the U.S. pay-TV industry is breaking the law by offering only subscription packages or bundles and not allowing consumers to choose only the channels they want. Every major cable and satellite television system operators and every cable and broadcast network have been named in the complaint.
"The antitrust laws protect the right of choice," antitrust lawyer Maxwell M. Blecher said. "Here the customer is denied that choice." Blecher accused the parties involved of creating a monopoly that, "deprived consumers of choice, caused them to pay inflated prices for cable television and forced them to pay for cable channels they do not want and do not watch," in his complaint.

The lawsuit lists 9 plaintiffs but Blecher is seeking class-action status. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin has said in the past that a system that allows customers to choose only the specific channels they want would require federal legislation. The TV industry maintains that such a system would drive prices up as advertising revenue would fall, would require many more costumer service representatives and raise costs of billing and marketing.

Source:
Google (AP)

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13 user comments

128.9.2007 18:47

It's ABOUT time! And the BS about driving up cost is just a smokescreen. If I can log onto NetFlix & rearrange/add/delete movie titles with a few clicks at virtually no cost to NetFlix, the cable companies can CERTAINLY come up with a similar scheme to allow customers to manage their subscribed channels.

But we all know they'll play dumb as long as possible to avoid having to OBEY THE LAW and present fair choices to their customers.

228.9.2007 19:28

This is long overdo.I hope this makes these greedy bastards have to prove their ridiculous claims. If this bundle crap is aloud to continue, it won't be long until everyone does it. Just think when you go to McDonalds and can't buy just what you want, you have to buy their "bundle".

328.9.2007 21:14

Great news. The only reason I don't have cable is because I don't see that much TV so I basically I ended up using Netflix to rent TV series and documentaries. I don't need 60 channels if most of it if crap I don't see. If I could have it my way, I would only subscribe to less than 10 channels (Spike, SciFi, Discovery, TLC, National Geographic, Comedy Central, USA and a few others).

PS. Who the hell needs Lifetime (TV for women)? LOL

429.9.2007 1:57
procode
Inactive

Whilst I don't wish to break anyone's imaginary 'bubble, surely the program providers concerned onlt need to say, "Select any channel from this bouquet, and we will give you the rest - absolutely free" .. !!

Case closed ..

Procode ..

529.9.2007 15:16

I think I may be on the same sheet of music with "procode", when I recall my Daddy saying, "Son, nothing is free, there is a always a price to pay for everything". By the way, I love the use of "Whilst":). Gives a highbrow bent to lowbrow subject matter like this stuff. Have a good day all.

63.10.2007 1:05
bendis
Inactive

I surely hope the "law of choice" will prevail, but wonder how long it will take to make this happen and if it will even pass.
And if it passes, will the "good" (wanted) channels double or triple the amount of commercials to max out on revenue?

And some Canadian Alan Shore should start the same in Canada!
I am so friggin sick'n'tired of having to pay for a bunch of bundled shitty channels (Shaw cable) I never watch so I can enjoy a couple of the ones I actually want to watch.

73.10.2007 3:18

I'm figuring this is how it will work: a bundle of say 50 channels for $50.00. New prices: 25 channels selected by customer for $65.00.
Somehow someway they will come up with something not that different than this.

83.10.2007 10:51

hermes_vb, I agree with you 200%. I too do not have cable because I do not watch TV enough to pay $60-$90 per month. I would much rather pay Netflix $20 per month and stream the few shows that I want to watch from the internet.

I am sure that once the cable companies lose the lawsuit, they will simply offer a pick your channels offer for about 5-10 channels that comes out to be about the same price as getting a basic package. Until they substantially lower their prices they will not get me as a customer.

93.10.2007 18:16
Pierre2
Inactive

One of the C-band programmers offered channels Al La Carte minimum of 10channels. Each channel had a monthly price each channel was a different price and there was some discounts, don't recall for what.. Dish and Direct tv can do the same don't people in the business know this can happen. They must think people in the regulators can't figure this out. Hope this happens i don't like the Spanish program I get and I don't speak Spanish. These people have had monopoly long enough

1030.4.2008 17:44
tubefree
Inactive

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This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 31 Dec 2009 @ 23:24

1131.12.2009 16:25

I would like to see a refund myself for all the reruns that we pay for year after year it seems as the years go by they are producing less and less of new TV programming.How many channels have to show the same reruns at the same time over and over again.These companies should be pushing for new programming and not take them off before they have a chance to get out there in the seasons.

1226.9.2010 12:06

I gave up on SKY because of this issue. I was subscribing to Sky Sports for football matches, then they brought in SS1 and SS2, so the football was switched to the channel that I didn't have. In order to continue watching the football, I had to subscribe to both, then they brought out SS3 and played mix'n'match again. I was paying through the nose for motor-racing, Golf and cricket, which I consider less interesting that watching paint dry.
I would love it if this went through and everything was PPV but Sky would find some way of exerting their monopoly. I bet they're already in discussions with UK politicians to ensure that their monopoly is protected.
As far as films are concerned, my advice is buy DVD's from the charity shops. It won't take long before you'll have a library containing every one of Sky's great offerings.

1326.9.2010 12:13

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