Ion Pushing For Cable, Satellite Carriage of Digital Kids Channel

Push came in reply comments to the FCC's congressionally-mandated review of content-control technologies

Ion Media Networks is using the FCC's inquiry on content-control technologies to push for cable and satellite carriage of its digital kids channel.
That push came in reply to comments in the FCC's congressionally-mandated review of those technologies in implementing the Child Safe Viewing Act. The Commission must come up with a status report to Congress by Aug. 29 on the V-chip/ratings system and other methods of parental control of the media, including online, cable and satellite.

While Ion said it backed tools to block objectionable content, it took the opportunity to argue for boosting the amount of programming parents want their kids to watch.

Ion argues that cable and satellite operators should be subject to the same public interest obligations as broadcasters.

"Without such a mandate," says Ion in its filing, "discretion to decide what is best for the American public is left solely to MVPDs with little or no accountability to the general public."

Ion blames that lack of a MVPD mandate with what it calls a crisis in kids programming. Cable and satellite operators, it argues, "do not seek out or acquire new children’s programming, independent producers of such programming are left without a market for their products and parents are left with limited programming options for their children."

Ion is concerned specfically about its failure to get much cable or satellite carriage for Qubo, the 24/7 digital multicast channel it programs with the help of Scholastic and others. Ion has offered it free to operators and has found almost no takers, it says.

Ion wants the FCC to open an inquiry into what it calls the "bottleneck" in quality kids programming on cable and satellite.