LOS ANGELES (July
19, 2011) – The
Parents Television Council™ filed an
amicus brief urging the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear
a class action antitrust lawsuit (Brantley v. NBC Universal)
against the cable industry for requiring consumers to pay for
bundles of programming. According to the Federal Communications
Commission, U.S. consumers are forced to overpay on their monthly
cable subscription fees to the tune of more than $100 million per
year because of the industry’s product bundling.
The PTC was joined
in its brief by a diverse group of national consumer and family
organizations, including: The Consumer Federation of America,
Concerned Women for America, Morality in Media, Family Research
Council Action, Citizens for Community Values, Arizona Family
Council, and Illinois Family Institute.
“The cable industry in the United States
operates like a cartel and has insulated itself from free market
principles because of its massive economic power. Consumers, not the
cable industry, should decide which networks they purchase every
month. We urge the Ninth Circuit Court to put an end to this massive
anti-consumer con,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
who subscribe to cable and satellite television services are forced
to buy bundles of cable network programming, much of which they do
not want and do not watch. The result is that American consumers are
being fleeced. When you go to the movie theater, you buy a ticket to
the show you want to see, not to all 10 theaters in the cineplex.
Why must a family that wants Nickelodeon fork over cash every month
to MTV, VH1 and Spike?
“Some cable, satellite and telco video
distributors have publicly stated their desire to provide unbundled
programming and smaller bundles of programming, but the programmers
won’t allow it. Even Time Warner, a defendant in this very lawsuit,
affirmed the presence of the vice-like bundling grip the programmers
hold in a recent statement filed with the FCC.
“Leslie Moonves, President and CEO of CBS, told
a packed conference hall at the National Association of Broadcasters
meeting that ‘cable is the only media business in the world where
money doesn’t follow eyeballs.’ Moonves is right and the cable
cartel knows it,” Winter continued.
Corporation purchased the Wall Street Journal, it would have been
unthinkable for executives to restrict consumer choice by forcing
every newsstand to sell the Journal only as part of a larger bundle
of newspapers. Yet when News Corp. launched Fox Business Network,
that’s exactly what they did. No one asked cable consumers if they
wanted the new network or if they wanted to pay an additional fee
each month to receive it.
“How is it possible
that during the direst moments of this economic recession every
major media sector was being battered financially with the exception
of cable network programmers? Cable networks actually reported
record profits. The simple answer is that free market forces do not
apply to the cartel-like practices of the cable industry. It’s high
time for that fact to change,” concluded Winter.
with a representative from
the Parents Television
Council, please contact
Megan Franko at (703)
859-5054 or Liz Krieger at
(703) 683-5004 ext. 120.