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Press Release

January 4, 2007

Cable Prices Have Nearly Doubled

PTC Says the New FCC Report Paves the Way for Cable Choice


LOS ANGELES (January 4, 2007) - The Parents Television Council™ welcomed the findings of the FCC's new report on cable industry prices as evidence of the need for cable choice, which would allow cable subscribers to pick and choose – and pay for – only the cable networks the subscriber wants.  The FCC's report found that cable programming has continued to get more expensive, and it reaffirms the chokehold that the media conglomerates have on consumers.


"This FCC report affirms what we've been saying for the past few years: Cable prices are accelerating at exorbitant rates, and the key driver behind the price increases is programming – programming that is being forced onto consumers who have no say in the matter," said Tim Winter, president of the PTC™.  "Cable rates have nearly doubled in 10 years.  Not even the price of gasoline has increased that much over that time period.  Fortunately, the nonsensical metric of ‘average rates per channel' has been stripped from the FCC's analysis due to the fact that customers cannot purchase channels individually."


"The cable industry continues to be the only industry I know of that actively and openly lobbies the government in order to prevent its own customers from getting what they want.  Can you imagine walking into a Wal-Mart with a shopping cart and having the store employees, not you, determine what to put in your cart?  If that were the case, you wouldn't shop at Wal-Mart.  But here you have no option, as the same bundling scheme is present with cable and with satellite and – now – with the telephone companies' video service offerings.


"An overwhelming majority of families want to be able to choose and pay for only the cable networks they want.  So why is it that we cannot pick and choose – and pay for – only the cable networks we want in our homes?  Because the cable network programmers have a chokehold on the public. They make billions of dollars every year by forcing consumers to pay them for channels they don't watch, don't want, and may actually find offensive.


"The reality is that consumer prices would not go up under cable choice.  They would go down.  Forced to compete for the consumer's dollar, networks would be forced to deliver a better product at a lower price.  History seems a perfect guide: When in the course of a free commercial market has competition resulted in higher, not lower, consumer prices?  Answer: Never.


"If the cable industry continues to force such anti-competitive practices onto the consumer, then we have no choice but to urge the new Congress to act quickly to provide consumers with cable choice," Winter concluded.


To schedule an interview with a PTC representative, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.

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 more than 1.3 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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