Viacom dismisses McCain pay-TV reforms

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman has belittled attempts by US Senator John McCain to reshape pay-TV bundling practices.

Speaking at the Nomura’s Global Media & Telecom Summit in New York, Dauman told the audience that the Senator may have garnered publicity for taking a stand against pay-TV bundling but had no support from his fellow politicians or the public. “McCain got a lot of publicity for his solo-sponsored bill, which he’s been doing for, I don’t know, 15 years now with no co-sponsors, going nowhere,” he said.

McCain’s Television Consumer Freedom Act seeks to make channels available on an à la carte basis, where customers would pay only for the channels they want to receive, a departure from the established practice, whereby pay-TV providers bundle channels in packages so that consumers get a few premium channels together with many lesser channels.

McCain has called bundling an “injustice being inflicted on the American people”, but Dauman suggested instead that bundling lowers prices and increases value for consumers because it allows smaller channels to invest in content with the security of distribution. “Consumers are enjoying what many have called the golden age of television,” Dauman said. “It’s good value for consumers.”

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