Merge Could set Precedent for Cable

From the Family Research Council.

“The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering a merger application from the nation’s two satellite-radio companies, Sirius and XM. After weighing the evidence I believe the merger will advance the public interest primarily because Sirius and XM will soon adopt a new business model whereby customers pay only for channels they want (“a la carte pricing”). This will let customers block and not pay for offensive material like Howard Stern’s show. I believe competition from land-based radio (AM, FM), CDs, and MP3 players will prevent the combined company from extorting high prices from its customers. Most importantly, the “a la carte” option will set a precedent across telecommunications platforms – for example, its applicability to cable TV is clear. With that being said FRC’s support is conditional. The FCC’s approval must contain legal requirements that the new firm move quickly to implement channel-by-channel pricing and that costs of items like Howard Stern’s massive stock options be attributed to his programming only – so refunds for blocking his channels reflect their true cost. Finally, I want Sirius-XM customers to be notified clearly and simply of this option in each bill. With those conditions in place, I believe Sirius-XM customers will be better protected, and the American public will gain from the existence of this new approach to the provision of telecommunications services. “


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