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Let The Market Decide: The À La Carte Option In The Cable Market

Today’s cable market is far from competitive. American cable customers live in a world of the cable industry’s making, a world of extremely limited choice and endlessly spiraling prices. With no meaningful government oversight and virtually no competition, cable providers have the power to decide what programming consumers can see by controlling both packaging and price (with the exception of broadcast channels, which must be carried). By placing their most popular channels in expensive tiers with other channels most people do not watch or worse, find offensive, the industry forces consumers to pay the equivalent of a cable tax by requiring them to buy bloated packages of channels in order to obtain access to the few channels they actually do watch. This tax represents the market inefficiency of a system in which the preferences of producers automatically trump those of consumers.