Assembly resolution no. 53 State of new jersey 217th legislature



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ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION No. 53



STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION








Assemblyman MICHAEL PATRICK CARROLL

District 25 (Morris and Somerset)

SYNOPSIS

Urges President and United States Congress to remove regulatory barriers to allow and encourage cable and satellite television companies to offer “a la carte” programming.


CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.






An Assembly Resolution urging the President and the United States Congress to remove regulatory barriers to allow and encourage cable and satellite television companies to offer “a la carte” programming.
Whereas, According to the Federal Communications Commission, the average monthly price of cable television service across the United States increased by 100 percent from 1995 to 2011; and

Whereas, The price of cable service has risen dramatically, in part, due to cable companies limiting the programming they provide to large and expensive cable packages that consist of numerous channels which many consumers may not watch or wish to purchase; and

Whereas, Cable and satellite companies do not offer “a la carte programming,” which would allow consumers the option to purchase channels on an individual basis; and

Whereas, As a result, consumers are faced with choosing between purchasing an expensive cable or satellite package that is not tailored to their own needs or not purchasing any cable or satellite service; and

Whereas, Cable and satellite companies are not solely to blame for the high prices consumers face today; and

Whereas, Cable and satellite companies purchase the channels which are included in consumers’ cable packages from video programmers, including broadcast networks; and

Whereas, Rather than sell channels to cable and satellite companies on an individual basis, video programmers like Comcast-NBC, Time Warner, Viacom, and The Walt Disney Company, which owns 80 percent of ESPN, sell channels in packages, commonly called bundles, a practice which contributes to high prices for consumers; and

Whereas, Cable and satellite companies that consider dropping bundled channels like ESPN must also contemplate losing other channels in the bundle, like the Disney Channel; and

Whereas, According to a January 2012 Newsweek article, ESPN charges roughly $4.69 per household per month, and all cable and satellite consumers are forced to absorb this cost, irrespective of whether they watch ESPN; and

Whereas, Highlighting the need for federal action, a contract dispute between Time Warner and CBS Television Networks (CBS) resulted in a blackout of CBS programming in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and several smaller markets; and

Whereas, United States Senator John McCain introduced Senate Bill 912, the “Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013,” to remove regulatory barriers to allow and encourage cable and satellite companies and other multichannel video programming distributors to offer “a la carte” programming; and

Whereas, “A la carte” programming would offer individuals and families in this State the option to choose the channels they want and to lower their monthly cable or satellite bill; and

Whereas, It is altogether fitting and proper for this House to urge the President and the United States Congress to work to remove regulatory barriers that withhold from consumers the freedom to choose which channels they purchase; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. This House respectfully urges the President of the United States and the United States Congress to remove regulatory barriers to allow and encourage cable and satellite television companies and other multichannel video programming distributors to offer a la carte programming.
2. Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Clerk of the General Assembly to the President of the United States, the majority and minority leaders of the United States Congress, and to each member of Congress elected from this State.

STATEMENT


This resolution urges the President and the United States Congress to remove regulatory barriers to allow and encourage cable and satellite television companies and other multichannel video programming distributors to offer “a la carte” programming.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, the average monthly price of cable television service across the United States increased by 100 percent from 1995 to 2011. The price of cable service has risen dramatically, in part, due to cable companies limiting the programming they provide to large and expensive cable packages that consist of numerous channels which many consumers may not watch or wish to purchase.

Cable and satellite companies do not offer “a la carte programming,” which would allow consumers the option to purchase channels on an individual basis. As a result, consumers are faced with choosing between purchasing an expensive cable or satellite package that is not tailored to their own needs or not purchasing any cable or satellite service.

Cable and satellite companies are not solely to blame for the high prices consumers face today. Cable and satellite companies purchase the channels which are included in consumers’ cable packages from video programmers, including broadcast networks. Rather than sell channels to cable and satellite companies on an individual basis, video programmers like Comcast-NBC, Time Warner, Viacom, and The Walt Disney Company sell channels in packages, commonly called bundles, a practice which contributes to high prices for consumers.



Highlighting the need for federal action, a contract dispute between Time Warner and CBS Television Networks (CBS) has resulted in a blackout of CBS programming in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and several smaller markets. United States Senator John McCain introduced Senate Bill 912, the “Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013,” to remove regulatory barriers to allow and encourage cable and satellite companies and other multichannel video programming distributors to offer “a la carte” programming. “A la carte” programming would offer individuals and families in this State the option to choose the channels they want and to lower their monthly cable or satellite bill.

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