Britt: Monsters Lurk in a la Carte Idea


Calls to make cable operators offer individual channels on an a la carte
basis would backfire on the idea's supporters, leading to higher subscription
prices and extinction of some niche channels, Time Warner Cable chairman Glenn
Britt told the Washington Metropolitan Cable Club Wednesday.

"It sounds good -- very consumer-friendly," he said. "Customers would only
pay for what they want to watch. [But] it isn't that simple. It isn't that

In addition to the uncertain outcome of renegotiating contracts with program
suppliers, Britt predicted that consumers would pay considerably more on a
per-channel basis because networks would need to make up for lost subscribers
and lost advertising.

New programmers and those with small audiences would find it harder to

In addition, nearly all customers would be forced to obtain set-top boxes.

Recognizing growing frustration with subscriptions, Britt advised cable
operators to quickly add services that customers perceive as high-value, such as
broadband Internet, video-on-demand and telephony.