YouTube is the ‘ultimate à la carte’

The marketplace long ago provided what some in Congress now want to mandate.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller just introduced legislation, the “Consumer Choice in Online Video Act.”

It “aims to enable the ultimate a la carte – to give consumers the ability to watch the programming they want to watch, when they want to watch it, how they want to watch it, and pay for only what they actually watch.”

Mandating that video programming be bought and sold in one government proscribed manner is not consumer choice; it is old-fashioned rate regulation of video content and service.

The legislation incorrectly assumes that the hundred million American households who freely choose pay TV have no choice.

That the choice to view video free or for pay from either over-the-air broadcast, coax cable, DBS, fiber cable, copper cable, or over-the-top online video is somehow not choice.

That the choice of basic packages, premium packages, a la carte premium and sports channels, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or YouTube are not choices.

Consumer video choice already abounds in the marketplace!

Moreover, the video nirvana the legislation seeks already is a consumer choice in the market. The “ultimate a la carte” is exactly what Google-YouTube’s no-pay-TV business model is. Consumers don’t need a government mandate on everyone to get what they already can choose for themselves. No legislation needed.

Think about it. According to Google, YouTube has over a billion viewers viewing six billion hours of video each month. It claims to reach more 18-34 adult Americans than any U.S. cable network. And it boasts it has thousands of channels making six figures a year.

Relative to their nearest Internet video competitor, YouTube commands 21 times more U.S. videos viewed and 17 times more U.S. unique video viewers, per comScore.

Anyone immediately can upload most anything to YouTube without any review or authorization by anyone. They then can immediately offer it to the world and potentially earn advertising on who views it, unless users choose to skip their ads, which 75% of users do.

Also Google reports it has taken down 200 million pirated videos from YouTube in 2013 alone.

Interestingly, Google’s blind eye to piracy has been instrumental to YouTube’s “ultimate a la carte” model becoming the dominant Internet video distributor in the U.S.