Comcast Gets Family Friendly, Too

from the little-house-on-the-prairie-24-7 dept

Following Time Warner’s announcement last week that it would offer a “family-friendly” tier of channels, rival Comcast says it will offer a similar plan, with 35 to 40 channels for about $31 per month. It’s so similar, in fact, that it will probably attract the same criticism as Time Warner’s offering from decency activists that it’s no good. The cable companies are offering these plans in an attempt to head off the FCC’s push for a la carte pricing, and also to answer concerns from some of its commissioners about indecent programming. Now, the cable companies are caught in a Goldilocks situation with the anti-indecency activists that have the FCC’s ear — their regular channel lineups are too obscene; their family plans are too lame. The FCC can’t really mandate that the cable companies offer particular channels as part of the tier, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the commission weigh into the debate somehow. After all, these family plans are just part of a big game of horse trading.

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Comments on “Comcast Gets Family Friendly, Too”

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Testudo says:

Re: Cable

A la Carte pricing is a good thing for consumers I think, but the censoring of TV can be taken too far. Networks like Cartoon Network do have more “racy” content at night, but is naturally directed at an older audience. I feel that it is mainly the resonsibility of the parent to determine what their children are able to see.

On the other hand, it seems like it could potentially hurt the cable companies if a la carte programming comes into reality. I know many people’s monthly cable bills would start dropping…

Montana says:

Re: Re: Cable

People. This will absolutely NOT drop bills in the long term. This ‘unbundeling’ will allow the cable companies to move from a service-oriented billing scheme to a more transaction-oriented one. Think cell phones. Think per minute or per show charges. Think how many hours you watch TV, and how much it will cost with this method.
Then after some consumer backlash, they will go back to offering ‘packages’ except instead of channel packages they will be time packages, just like your cell phone. And consumers will think they are getting a better deal with the lower cost plans, and then will generate ginormous $ for the cable company when they exceed the plan’s monthly allowance of television viewing minutes.

Max says:

Indecency on TV

First off, most anti-indecency folks do know how to use technology. Why do you think the V-chip was designed to begin with? The major problem is the fact that the majority of the programming seems to be geared towards what we would consider indecent. There are a bunch of shows and movies that I would like to see, but because it boosts sales, the producers put in the gratuitous sex, profanity and violence. And many of these shows and movies don’t really need that. Yes, there are shows and movies that the sex, profanity and/or violence are actually real part of the plot. I don’t have to see those, and I don’t have to let my kids see those. But, really, would it be such a bother to not put in the sex, profanity and violence that really does not have to be there?

hautedawg says:

racy cartoons?

Okay, it’s back to who is raising the children? If the cartoons at NIGHT are racy, then perhaps the little ones are up too late. It is not the responsibility of the cable companies, the broadcasting companies or even the schools to raise your children…it is yours, if you are a parent.

If you don’t like something on the television, there’s something even better than a “v-chip”, it’s call the OFF BUTTON. I find it incredibly useful when someone like Pat Robertson comes on and tells me that the airwaves are full of smut. I find the off button works very well and keeps offensive people and programing off my television.

Just a thought..

OldMovieGuy says:

Comcast Family Plan

I don’t think this should be viewed as a censorship issue.

I suspect that almost everyone is being forced to subscribe to a huge number of channels they don’t want in order to get a few they do. There are only three channels I really want and in order to get them I have to pay for Basic, Extended Basic, and Classic Digital. If there is ever any real free market competition in this field we will find that the cable companies are able to put together more varied and consumer friendly packages than they have so far. I uderstand the technolgy and it would cost them almost nothing (except reduced revenue). The family friendly package doesn’t meet my needs but I hope it is the start of a trend.

Former Comcast Subscriber says:

Cancelled Comcast cable TV today...

After several years of serious consideration, our family made the difficult decision today to cancel our basic cable TV service with Comcast. We have six television sets in our home, including an expensive home theater that will no longer receive network programming. We realize that we will potentially be less informed now on local and national political issues. We will miss tuning in to a small number of worthwhile network programs, but will no longer tolerate the disgusting garbage that is being spewed out by the so-called entertainment industry in this country.

The standard explanation from the cable industry is that if you are offended by the programming, then block the programs. This is analogous to corporate polluters saying that if you don’t like them dumping contaminants into our rivers, then drink bottled water, or if you don’t like them polluting our air, then say indoors. Grossly immoral and irresponsible programming is polluting our culture and harming the society that we all have to live in.

Consumers should not be forced to pay for bundled programming that includes increasingly offensive programming that is hostile to our values and that we are forced to continue to financially subsidize.

When I cancelled our service this morning, I provided the following example to Comcast as to why subscribers should be allowed to purchase cable programming a la carte as opposed to bundled packages, regardless of any potential increase in monthly rates. It is reasonable to believe, unfortunately, that there are those in this country who would enjoy racist programming. Let’s imagine that Comcast chose to include a racist network as part of its bundle of basic cable channels. When customers phoned to complain, Comcast could provide the standard explanation that any customer who is offended can just block the programs.

Here is the problem with that response. Customers should not be forced to subsidize this type of blatantly offensive programming. Customers would rightly point out that irresponsible programming would have a very detrimental impact on our culture. Comcast would rightly be labeled as grossly irresponsible for choosing to carry a racist network and forcing customers to pay for the programming as part of their basic cable bundle of programs.

We are hopeful that the day will come when a la carte programming is mandated for the cable and satellite industries. Americans should have the choice as to which programming they want to financially support, and not be forced to support programming which further undermines the traditional values of this country. Don’t force consumers to either continue to support blatantly indecent and offensive programming that undermines our values and contributes to the continued moral decay of this country, or pull the plug completely and be deprived of the small number of decent available network programs.

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