Cable Programmers En Masse Diss A La Carte


Name a cable network and it was probably a signatory to a letter sent Monday to Senate Commerce Committee Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) expressing their strong opposition to cable a la carte legislation.

"As representatives of some of the hundreds of program networks that provide a wide variety of diverse programming selections for millions of American consumers, we urge you to oppose government

regulation of the packaging and pricing of cable and satellite television programming," they wrote.

In this case, they were networks from A (A&E, ABC Family and Animal Planet) to W (Weather Channel, Weatherscan), and just about everybody else in between.

They call the push for a la carte, which has been backed by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and includes a recenly introduced cable choice bill in the House backed by Martin, a misguided effort that would "endanger high quality family-friendly programming available today leaving parents and children with fewer viewing options."

Martin and others have backed a la carte and family tiers as a way for parents to better control their kids viewing and screen out channels they don't want. But National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Kyle McSlarrow has argued that mandated a la carte might actually threaten the survival of some family friendly nets or have the unintended consequence of making some cable channels even edgier as they compete to be on of the chosen channels.

McSlarrow has said that the marketplace could well drive a more choice-centric cable model going forward, but that government has no business doing so by fiat.