Viacom Inc. Chief Executive Officer Philippe Dauman mocked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for being the sole sponsor of a new bill to overhaul the way pay-TV distributors and programmers package and sell programming.
At Nomura’s Global Media & Telecom Summit in New York, Dauman downplayed the threat, saying McCain has been pushing for similar legislation for years and has made little progress.
“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 recently unveiled the Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013, which would provide incentives for the industry to start selling channels to customers on an individual basis so viewers don’t have to pay for channels in which they aren’t interested.
The McCain bill is aimed at fighting so-called bundling, when big companies such as Viacom and Walt Disney Co. roll all their channels into one bundle that they sell to distributors.
McCain, a longtime critic of the television industry, has called bundling an "injustice being inflicted on the American people.”
Dauman argued bundling actually lowers prices and increases value for consumers because it allows smaller networks to invest in their shows while knowing they will have distribution.
“Consumers are enjoying what many have called the golden age of television,” Dauman said. “It’s good value for consumers.”