Sen. John McCain just picked up an unexpected ally in his seemingly quixotic effort to pass a law that would promote a la carte pay TV pricing. Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei — whose company is the largest shareholder in Charter Communications, and usually opposes regulation — says “there are many positive attributes” to the bill, although he questions whether it can pass. Maffei’s comment stood out at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, where analysts have been asking execs what they think about McCain’s effort and the idea of breaking up the pay TV bundle. Programming execs at the event including Disney’s Bob Iger, Viacom’s Philippe Dauman, and Scripps Networks’ Ken Lowe all but scoffed at the idea, saying that consumers are satisfied with a system that serves them well. But Maffei says that programmers’ ambitious recent price hikes threatens what he calls the “wonderful ecosystem in the television business…When you see what’s going in on places like Los Angeles with eight regional sports networks, you threaten that benign feedback loop and it’s not a good thing.” If companies don’t solve the problem then “you risk some regulatory intervention.” Cable companies now find “scale and horizontal consolidation attractive” — in part to gain leverage in negotiations with programmers. He wasn’t pressed on the latest in Charter’s effort with Liberty to combine with other operators including Time Warner Cable, Cox, and Cablevision, although he offered that “I’m not sure we have to lead the [consolidation] charge.” Meanwhile, Maffei says that cable companies should experiment “more aggressively” with broadband rates that replace the popular all-you-can-eat model with ones that require heavy users to pay higher prices. “It seems only logical and fair….Testing that and getting consumers attuned to that sooner rather than later would be a good thing.” Usage-based pricing probably would pose big problems for streaming video services including Netflix.
Liberty Media CEO Endorses Changes In Pay TV And Broadband Pricing
What's Hot on Deadline
'Black Panther' Keeps B.O. Treasure From 'Tomb Raider'; How 'I Can Only Imagine' Hit A $17M High Note
Ellen Barkin Says "Never Get Into An Elevator Alone With Terry Gilliam" After His Criticism Of #MeToo Movement
'SNL': Anderson Cooper Addresses White House Firings; John Goodman & Fred Armisen Make Surprise Visits
'Avengers: Infinity War' Already The Best-Selling Superhero Movie In Advance Ticket Sales, Beating 'Black Panther'
Latest Business News
- Michael Gershman Dies: The ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’, ‘Crossing Jordan’ Cinematographer Was 73
- Veteran Cirque Du Soleil Performer Dies After Fall During Tampa Show
- Desilu Exploring U.S. Public Offering After Acquisition Of Israel’s Vonetize: Report
- The Roots Cancel SXSW Concert After Bomb Threat; Suspect Arrested – Update
- Ellen Barkin Says “Never Get Into An Elevator Alone With Terry Gilliam” After His Criticism Of #MeToo Movement
- Kathy Griffin Comeback Show At Carnegie Hall Nearly Sells Out In A Day