Now, Martin Says Family Tiers Are Kinda Boring

from the make-up-your-mind dept

FCC chairman Kevin Martin's been wasting spending a lot of time trying to push cable operators to offer so-called family-friendly tiers of channels, holding the threat of forcing them to offer a la carte programming over their heads. Last month, he whined that the family tiers cable companies had announced weren't inoffensive enough, but now he's complaining that they're awfully boring, especially since they don't include sports channels. Putting Goldilocks comparisons aside for a moment, is Martin aware of a hidden amendment to the Constitution that guarantees the right to a cable television service that adheres to some personal code of decency? If people are so offended by cable TV content, they already have a number of choices, such as using parental controls offered on many cable boxes and TVs, or even -- gasp -- just not getting cable at all. As nice as a la carte programming sounds, particularly for the easily offended, its implementation will likely fall well short of its promise, and would probably end up increasing most people's cable bills. But apparently that's a small price for the rest of us to pay to help a minority of people stamp out all the rampant filth that's invaded their living room -- at their own invitation, of course.
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  1. identicon
    Greg Spira, 12 Apr 2006 @ 2:49pm

    Why A La Carte Cable Would Cost More

    Bob - Because they're not subsidizing it; they're actually getting paid to get that channel. Cable customrts actually really pay a lot more than they actually do for the channels they want and then they get a rebate for accepting the channels they don't want (For example, if your bill is $50, you're actually paying $80 for the channels you really want and getting a $30 rebate for accepting the channels you don't want to pay for.) Cable networks and franchises benefit from users taking channels they wouldn't pay for because those users will end up warching those channels and seeing the advertisements. If those users didn't have those channels they didn't think are worth paying for, they'd watch somewhat less television and more programs on over-the-air stations, and cable gets zero benefit from people doing those things.

    The end result of a la carte cable would therefore be that most people's cable bills will go up, because they'll no longer get that rebate that's built into the bill. (Customers who only subscribe to a few channels or just want to get HBO would obviously save money)

    Kevin Martin's full of hot air with this stuff regarding sports. Sports channels are by far the most expensive cable channels. If cable companies included the sports channels in their family packages, the prices for those packages would rise substantially and then Martin would be complaining that customers don't save any money by subscribing to only the family tier. Which would be true, for the reasons I stated above.

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