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Cablevision Breaks Ranks on Pricing

"Our experience indicates a la carte will result in a more affordable service for all with more programming options," Dolan's statement continued. "The Chairman's approach, in our view, is consistent with the best traditions of retailing in this country. Consumers should not be obliged directly or indirectly to buy services they do not want."

In a research note earlier this week, Merrill Lynch media analyst Jessica Reif Cohen said that the real impact of Martin's remarks would depend on what the new pricing schemes look like. Merrill says the most popular channels would probably fare well, while second- and third-tier channels could be at risk.

"Given strong opposition of pay TV and content providers, significant technological hurdles, and uncertain consumer benefits, we believe it is highly unlikely that a la carte pricing will be implemented," Reif Cohen writes.

Shares in Cablevision, which Dolan and his CEO son James were considering taking private earlier this year, were down 37 cents to $23.29.
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