It’s just the latest complaint against cable bundling
Complaining about the cost of cable is a popular American pastime. But four California consumers have decided to stop talking and do something about it, filing suit against Time Warner for anticipated costs due to the providerâ€™s recent acquisition of Lakers and Dodgers rights.
The suit focuses on two separate acquisitions made by Time Warner. In 2011, the cable provider gained a 20-year-long right to broadcast Los Angeles Lakers basketball games. Then, in January, Time Warner acquired a 25-year-long right to air Los Angeles Dodgers games.
According to the suit, the Lakers deal, which cost Time Warner $3 billion, will add $4 to every customerâ€™s monthly bill; the Dodgers deal, which ran $8 billion, will cost consumers $4 or $5 extra per month, the suit claims.
â€œThere is no legitimate business, legal, technological, or economic reason why TWC cannot offer these Lakers and Dodgers games on a standalone channel basis so that only those subscribers who want and are willing to pay for them would do so and those who did not want these channels could â€˜opt out,â€™â€ the complaint says.
The suit also names the Dodgers and the Lakers as defendants.
A popular complaint of late
This isnâ€™t the first uproar over â€œbundling,â€ the practice of only offering content and channels as part of a larger group. (Bundling is the reason that you canâ€™t, say, subscribe only to HBO and ESPN, while avoiding The Food Network and Lifetime.) In February, cable provider CablevisionÂ , claiming that Viacom only offered popular networks like Nickelodeon and MTV if Cablevision also accepted a slew of less-demanded networks. Cablevision claimed that that practice, knowing as â€œtying,â€ violates antitrust laws.
And in May, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced theÂ , which would allow consumers to choose the channels they wanted, and eschew the ones they didnâ€™t.
(originally published atÂ )