XM-Sirius Merger – The Parents Speak Out

XM and Sirius have found an unexpected ally in their merger battle against the NAB, the Parents Television Council (PTC). In an August 25 article on the Radio and Records website, the PTC is challenging the NAB’s claims that the proposed ala carte pricing is a “sham” (see my article here) and calling them out on noc aticing in the best interests of the public. From the article:

‘The PTC believes the a la carte pricing plans “will offer more affordable packages, including an option for families to block adult-themed channels and receive a price credit for the unwanted programming.” The group decries what it calls the NAB’s “self-serving, anti-competitive practices.”’

The PTC point out that the NAB “has thrown up a red herring by claiming that prices would rise under an a la carte model,” as I also reported earlier. In fact the PTC points to a July 2007 FCC report about cable television pricing (PDF) which took the position against the suggestion that prices would rise under an a la carte model. The report states that, “in addition to providing television viewers with greater control over the type of content for which they are paying, a la carte could also help reduce soaring cable bills.” The report goes on to say:

“When cable companies point to the increased number of channels being offered as an explanation for the increase in prices, they ignore the fact that most of these channels are not actually being watched. According to a Nielsen Media Research report, the average cable subscriber is paying for more than 85 channels that she doesn’t watch in order to obtain the approximately 16 channels that she does.”

This only gives further support to the proposed XM-Sirius ala carte pricing model. It will be interesting to see what move the NAB make next, now that it seems that the FCC and the PTC have shot down one of their biggest talking points.