Tags: miley | cable | demand | a la carte | cyrus | VMA

Miley's Shock Show Sparks New Demand for A La Carte Cable

Image: Miley's Shock Show Sparks New Demand for A La Carte Cable

Friday, 30 Aug 2013 04:17 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Parents disgusted by former Disney star Miley Cyrus' act on Sunday night's "MTV Video Music Awards" are demanding Congress pass the Television Consumer Freedom Act so they can choose and pay only for networks they want to see.

"Why must families be forced to subsidize MTV or any other network with their cable bills? It's time for consumers to be able to choose and pay for only the cable networks they want," Dan Isett, director of public policy for the Parents Television Council told Fox News.

The act would give consumers a solution for future MTV VMA programs — the ability to choose and pay for cable networks that they want versus having to pay for networks they don't want.

Earlier this year, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the current cable TV package system an "injustice being inflicted on the American people," while introducing the "a la carte cable bill," a measure co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

The bill has been in limbo since it was introduced in May, but supporters stress Cyrus' bikini-clad performance and Lady Gaga's performance in nothing but a thong and seashell bikini top was over the edge. In addition, they were upset at condom commercials being aired during a telecast that was aimed at young teens.

Quantum Networks CEO Ari Zoldan told Fox that he wants to just get the channels he wants, and not "these channels that have become the bloatware of the cable business."

He also said cable packaging creates a "delusion" for added channels, and if people were allowed to pay only for the channels they want, subscribers to questionable channels would "substantially drop."

Industry experts and distributors, though, say cable bundles lower prices for everybody and allow the pricing for more popular channels to be more affordable.

"In a thriving marketplace that is constantly providing consumers with new services and features, a government-mandated a la carte system is a lose-lose proposition," said the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the top lobbyists for the pay-TV industry.

Other experts also say the proposed act remains a long way off, because networks and sports leagues have too much power.

"Cable channels and cable networks often fight each other on issues, but in this scenario they would be on the same [side], and my guess is that they would trounce any effort by a parent's council to get this change to happen in Washington," said Glenn Selig, of Selig Multimedia.

"Ultimately, consumers have the power. Any parent disgusted by what they saw on the VMA show could simply tune out next year.”

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