A La Carte Regulation and the Failure of Good Intentions

by on July 11, 2008 · 28 comments

Jeff Eisenach, Chairman of Criterion Economics, and I have just released a new article about the perils of a la carte regulation in the Federalist Society’s journal Engage. In “A La Carte Regulation of Pay TV: Good Intentions vs. Good Economics,” we argue that: “From a policy perspective, a la carte regulation is worse than a solution in search of a problem; it is a problem waiting to happen.” We show that the pay TV marketplace is functioning quite efficiently and that consumers have more choices and content diversity at their disposal than ever. A la carte mandates, we argue, would destroy that diversity and likely put pressure on prices to go up, contrary to the goals of the backers of a la carte.

We also discuss how a la carte is being proposed a tool of social regulation / speech control, with backers labeling it a way of “cleaning up cable.” We explain why that is not going to work and why, even if it did, it would be a betrayal of the First Amendment.

This new article can be found online here.

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