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Press Release

February 9, 2006

PTC:  FCC's Report Crushes Cable Industry's "Great Wall" of Excuses

New Report Paves the Way for Cable Choice


LOS ANGELES (February 9, 2006) The Parents Television Council (PTC) lauded the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) report that gives concrete evidence that providing a la carte cable choice to consumers is feasible, and that the cable industry should pave the way for cable choice.


"We applaud the FCC and Chairman Martin for bringing the truth to an issue where only lies and deceit had gone before: Cable Choice will help, not hurt, consumers.  Consumers -- and especially families -- must be afforded the ability to pick and choose and pay for only those networks they want in their homes," said L. Brent Bozell, president of the PTC.


"We hope today's announcement will spur the cable industry to do the responsible thing and offer unbundled network programming for those consumers who want it.  And if they refuse to shed their anti-competitive practices, then Congress should force them to do so.


"The cable industry has attempted to perpetrate a fraud on the American people in order to protect its multi-billion dollar nest egg.  First, the industry claimed that technology limitations prevented cable choice.  This was proven to be false by virtue of powerful new digital set-top boxes designed to transact all manner of commerce.


"Then the industry claimed that program diversity would be ruined; but they could not hide behind the reality that most cable networks were owned or controlled by a small number of industry conglomerates.


"The cable industry then announced it would spend $250 million to teach parents how to block unwanted networks, but they insisted that consumers continue to pay them for the offensive networks they chose to block.


"Then industry said they could not, and would not, create a family tier of networks, but when faced with threats of congressional intervention, they were able to implement family tiers in just days.  Of course these tiers were intended -- designed -- to fail so the industry could point to the lack of demand for family programming.


"And all along the industry has attempted to hide behind the feeblest of all excuses: that competition would somehow force consumer prices to increase.  Not only is it pathetic for the industry to champion lower subscription rates after unilaterally increasing their prices at several times the rate of inflation, but the argument was utterly illogical.  When in the history of commerce has competition forced prices to increase?


"At two recent hearings in the U.S. Senate, cable and satellite industry leaders testified that they wanted to offer their customers an a la carte solution but they were prohibited from doing so by the networks, particularly the media conglomerates who own both broadcast networks and cable networks.  


"The FCC's report crumbles the cable industry's great wall of excuses.  The cable industry has been carried on the backs of American consumers long enough.  It is time for this extortion to end," Bozell concluded.


To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver at (703) 683-5004, ext. 140.

The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has over one million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.






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