Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) is working on a bill that will put the pressure on cable and satellite providers to let customers pick the channels they want, according to The Hill. Here's what you need to know.
1. The Legislation Will Force Cable Companies to Offer A-La-Carte Programming
As of now, cable companies force customers to purchase channels in bulk — the more channels you purchase, the more pricey your cable bill will be. But, according to The Hill, under McCain's proposed bill, cable companies will be required by law to offer different plans and packages for customers, including an "a-la-carte" model so that customers can pick and choose which channels they want. So, if you hate sports, you won't be forced to pay for ESPN.
2. Customers Will Be Ecstatic
Most customers have been waiting for something like this for awhile. As you can imagine, many people hate paying for channels that never watch. For instance, my family in New Jersey pays for spanish soap opera channels and the Home Shopping Network, even though I can count on one hand how many times I've visited those channels. An a-la-carte programming option would be very well-received among customers (including me).
3. Cable Company's Will Be Livid
But, cable providers will be absolutely livid over McCain's proposed legislation. Business Insider notes that by bundling up channels together, cable providers are able to make even more money than they would with a-la-carte programming. Many Americans are paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars per month just because they want to watch a few premium channels, like HBO, Showtime, and AMC.
4. McCain Will Also Try To Protect Aereo
Aereo, the TV startup that's been in legal battles with Fox and CBS, is getting attacked from major cable companies. The Hill reports that sources within the industry have told them that Aereo is included in McCain's bill:
The bill also includes a provision that would boost Web TV service Aereo, according to the industry sources. Aereo allows customers to stream broadcast TV on their computer or mobile device, but the TV networks are suing the company, claiming that it is stealing their copyrighted content. Several broadcasting officials have said recently that if they do not win in court, they would consider taking their programming off the air to prevent Aereo from stealing it.
5. The Bill Also Has Other Stipulations, Too
McCain's cable legislation will also discuss other topics related to media conglomerates, like Comcast. Business Insider explains:
In addition to breaking up the bundles, McCain's bill will prevent big media companies from using broadcast channels as leverage for negotiations with cable companies. So, Disney couldn't tell Comcast it has to pay $8 per subscriber for ESPN if it wants to get access to ABC. Both ABC and ESPN are owned by Disney.