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Cable Consumer Choice Campaign

Want the Disney Channel but not MTV? Don't be forced to support offensive content. Choose your own channels.


THE ISSUE

Expanded basic cable has become a kind of Pandora's box for families.  Many parents welcome expanded basic cable into their homes because it opens up a whole universe of family-friendly programming.  There's the Disney channel, Nickelodeon, ABC Family Channel, the Discovery Channel, and more.  But to access these educational and family-friendly networks, they are also forced to pay for channels they don't want and that actually make their job as a parent much more difficult.  Now, in addition to trying to protect their children from the filth on Fox, NBC, UPN, and the other broadcast networks, they also have to try to protect their children from the much more explicit fare on MTV, FX, Comedy Central, and the like.

 

 

 


LATEST HIGHLIGHTS

PTC: Cable Lawsuit Could Pave the Way for Consumer Cable Choice

 

The Parents Television Council™ praised the decision by the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to allow a case to move forward that is a direct challenge to the lack of cable choice available to consumers.

 

“We applaud the federal court’s decision allowing the class action antitrust suit to proceed to trial on the merits of the complaint.  It is a breath of fresh air to know that cable consumers still have a voice in our court system.  Sadly, the consumer’s voice in Washington DC and elsewhere has been muted by the cable industry’s enormous wallet,” said PTC President Tim Winter. more

 

Howcableshouldbe.com Find out what your cable bill should be.


PTC Files Amicus Brief in Support of FCC’s Authority to Prevent Profanity on Public Airwaves

 

The Parents Television Council filed an Amicus brief in the FCC vs. Fox Television Stations case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Court will hear the FCC challenge of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that overturned FCC decisions finding as indecent the airing of the “F-word” and “S-word” during Fox’s live broadcasts of the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards’ shows.  The PTC and its members filed FCC indecency complaints over these two incidents. more


PTC Urges FCC and Congress to Listen to Consumers, Not Industry Lobbyists

“The FCC and Congress need to listen to American families and consumers rather than to the banter of Washington power brokers and lobbyists for the cable industry.  Some members of Congress have spoken out against the FCC’s rightful attempt to interpret existing federal law that would change the status quo within the cable industry for the benefit of families, consumers and minorities.  Interestingly enough, many of those members are taking large campaign contributions from the cable industry, led by Rep. Joe Barton of Texas whose biggest contributor coincidentally happens to have the most at risk: Comcast. The fact that members of Congress are willing to spend their time serving as a mouthpiece for the cable industry rather than speaking out on behalf of their own constituents is beyond disappointing,” said PTC President Tim Winter. more


PTC Shows Consumers How Cable Should Be

 

The PTC recently announced the launch of a new website, www.HowCableShouldBe.com. This site allows you to see just how much you are paying for cable networks you don't want or don't watch and also allows you to calculate what your cable bill should be if you were allowed to "vote with your wallet" by selecting only the cable networks you want. Visit the site and test it out for yourself! more

 

Visit www.HowCableShouldBe.com


PTC Hails Antitrust Lawsuit Against Cable Network Bundling

The Parents Television Council issued a statement in response to the class-action lawsuit that was filed yesterday against the cable industry.

 

“On behalf of our 1.2 million members, we applaud the commencement of legal action which, we hope, will lead to the ability for cable subscribers to pick and choose – and pay for – only the cable networks they want,” said Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council. more

 

Tim Winter discusses the cable choice and antitrust lawsuit on CNBC's On the Money. Click here to Watch!


Zogby Poll: 52% prefer ‘a la carte cable’ over bulk channel packages

Survey shows 71% don't want to pay for channels they don't watch and 82% believe their current cable costs are too high

 

Cable subscribers who only watch a few channels out of the bundle they purchase from their cable provider are hoping efforts by the Federal Communications Commission could make “a la carte cable” a reality—purchasing channels individually instead of in bulk packages is preferred by more than half the nation’s cable subscribers, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows. more


PTC Lauds XM/Sirius for Promising Real Choices for Families

The Parents Television Council praised XM and Sirius satellite radio for announcing their commitment to provide consumers and families the ability to choose their programming on an a la carte basis, pending approval and completion of their proposed merger. In addition to offering their traditional bundles of programming, XM and Sirius will offer more affordable a la carte packages, including an option for families to block adult-themed channels and receive a price credit for the unwanted programming. more


Families Applaud Cable Choice Proposal

PTC Joins Congressmen and FCC Chairman to Announce Details of New Bill

The Parents Television Council praised U.S. Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) for their introduction of legislation called the “Family and Consumer Choice Act of 2007,” designed to provide families with the ability choose and pay for only the cable networks they want. The PTC’s Director of Corporate and Government Affairs Dan Isett joined the Congressmen and FCC Chairman Kevin Martin in announcing their support at a news conference today.  
more

 

To read the text of the bill, Click Here.

To read Dan Isett's remarks during the conference, Click Here.


Write to Your Congressman and Demand Cable Choice Now!

 

Cable subscribers everywhere should be outraged and demand to know why they are being forced to subsidize bestiality with their cable bills. Yes, you heard me right: bestiality, where a person engages in sexual activity with an animal. And if you subscribe to cable or satellite TV so you can watch ESPN or History Channel or CNN or Fox News, then you helped pay for that disgusting content. That's why we urgently need you to respond to this call-to-action. Please take a moment today to write to your Congressman and Senators and demand Cable Choice.

Go to
www.capwiz.com/parentstv/issues/alert/?alertid=9069271 to send your letter today.


Cable Choice is the Right Choice

By Tim Winter

 

When MTV produced the Super Bowl halftime show with Janet Jackson, parents around the country were shocked and outraged at what they saw. But children were not, simply because they watch MTV and know this is standard fare on that network. Given the chance, how many parents would have picked up the phone and unsubscribed to MTV the next day? But they can't. The industry won't allow it. And MTV receives hundreds of millions of dollars every year from families who don't want that network in their home. more

 

This article by Tim Winter answers many of your frequently asked questions. Click here to read more.


Comedy Central's Vulgarity-Filled Celebrity Roast Proves the Need for Cable Choice

 

On Sunday, August 20, Comedy Central continued its ignominious tradition of airing its indescribably vulgar annual Celebrity Roast.  This year the honoree was William Shatner.  As with previous airings, this year's roast was filled with obscene language and sexually explicit jokes.  

 

The most disturbing thing about this broadcast isn't even the content – it's the fact that more than two-thirds of U.S. cable subscribers were forced to help subsidize this raunch with their cable bills because of the cable industry's regime of forced-extortion.  Whether or not you want this kind of programming coming into your home, if you are a cable subscriber, part of your cable bill went toward underwriting this program.

 

Click Here to read graphic excerpts from the Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner. WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT!


PTC: Cable Choice Will Give Parents True Control Over TV Content

The Parents Television Council joined today with Congressmen Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Tom Osborne (R-NE) to support providing families with cable choice, the ability to take and pay for only the cable channels they want and called on the cable industry to support this plan.

 

Click Here to read excerpts from a statement given at a press conference by L. Brent Bozell.


PTC Praises Sen. McCain's Cable Choice Bill

The Parents Television Council praised U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) for introducing a bill that would incentivize cable companies to provide a la carte cable choice to families.

 

"Sen. McCain has shown incredible leadership on the cable choice issue, and we are pleased that he has introduced legislation that will help provide families with the ability to take and pay for only the cable channels they want.  The forced subsidy of graphic and explicit content on basic cable must end," said L. Brent Bozell, president of the PTC. more


New AP/Ipsos Poll confirms America's support for Cable Choice

The Associated Press recently released a poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on the topic of Cable Choice. This new poll reflects what the PTC already knew to be true about Cable Choice. Here are some excerpts from the results of the survey:

  • 78% of those polled would prefer to choose their own channels.  Put another way, people prefer to choose their own channels by a more than 5 to 1 margin over those who want a tier of channels chosen for them.

  • 66% of those polled said there was too much sex on TV, 68% said there was too much violence – and nearly 2/3 said they would be interested in video service from their phone company if the phone company offered more choice in channel selection.

To view the complete survey visit www.ap-ipsosresults.com or click on the link below.

 

Ipsos Poll- TV Viewers Want Choice In Their Cable, Satellite Programming

 


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

New Report Paves the Way for Cable Choice

 

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. more

 

FCC Report: Further Report on the Packaging and Sale of Video Programming Services to the Public


PTC Talking Points for the FCC's "Further Report" on Cable Choice

 

The first report erred in estimating the costs and prices of a la carte programmingThe original report assumes that consumers would only purchase 11 channels and estimates costs and prices based on that assumption.  A more economically sound approach to determining the number of channels would be to take prices as fixed and estimate demand given those prices.

 

A la carte may increase advertising revenues for niche networks.  A la carte may provide market signals that more accurately reflect actual viewers rather than potential viewers.  As a result, small networks may be able to demonstrate their popularity and thus increase their advertising appeal. 

 

A la carte could decrease many consumers' video programming bills.  The original report erroneously concluded that consumers would incur a 14-30% increase.  However, it actually showed that the applicable bill increase would be between -2% and +15%.  The previous study's own assumptions show that a consumer would receive a benefit ranging from a 13% decrease to a 4% increase, with a decrease in 3 out of 4 cases.

 

The first report erred in determining that a consumer who purchased 9 or more channels would see a bill increase.  When calculating the average price per channel, Booz-Allen-Hamilton failed to net out the cost of broadcast basic stations.  If the cost of these stations was deducted, a consumer could receive 16 to 20 channels without an increase.

 

A la carte could induce customers to take MVPD service who would not otherwise be willing to pay the bundle price.  By allowing consumers to choose the amount they are willing to pay and adjust channel choice based on that amount, consumers who are not willing to pay bundling price may be willing to pay for a select few channels.

 

A la carte could make it easier for some networks to enter the market.  Under bundling, if a niche network does not raise the total value of the bundle to those viewers up to the bundle price or generate new subscribers, then there is no benefit to include the network in the bundle.  As a result, regardless of a consumer's value of the niche network, it may not be available to him.  Under a la carte, however, a network with a small, dedicated audience may be able to generate the adequate revenue through a higher per-subscriber fee. 

 

A la carte could offer consumers the ability to pay only for the programming that they value.  Consumers may find that programming they pay for as part of a bundle contains networks they do not watch and fails to include other quality programming that they would enjoy.  While the current bundle can still be available for those consumers who prefer to keep the full lineup of channels, those who would prefer not to subsidize certain channels will have the option to opt out of paying for and receiving those channels.


America's Media Speaks Out for Cable Choice!

 

A year ago we told you about the concept of "Cable Choice", being able to pick and choose -- and pay for -- only the cable networks you wanted to allow into your home. A year ago the cable industry said it was impossible. They said that technology prohibited such an option. We proved that the technology did exist.

 

Then the cable industry said they would help customers to block networks they didn't like. We exposed the flaw that consumers would still be forced to pay for the unwanted networks that they chose to block.

 

Their next pathetic argument against Cable Choice was that it would force smaller, niche and minority-targeted networks into bankruptcy. Prominent consumer organizations exposed the fallacy of that argument showing evidence that such networks might actually benefit from Cable Choice.

 

Then the cable industry struck fear into the hearts of many by saying that Cable Choice would have the undesired effect of increasing the cost of a cable subscription while giving the customer fewer channels. We have exposed that, too, as a fallacy; and we pointed out that the cable industry already increases their fees at 3-4 times the national rate of inflation. And now the Federal Communications Commission is agreeing with us, saying that a recent analysis by their economists shows that costs would not increase with Cable Choice.

 

Knowing that their backs were against the wall, the cable industry did last month what it said it would not and could not do: provide a "family tier" of cable networks so that parents could protect their children from graphic and gratuitous programming. And over the past few weeks we have exposed the fatal flaw of this 'last gasp' attempt by the cable industry to prevent Cable Choice. Make no mistake: While this option appears -- at first blush -- to be a good solution, it does absolutely nothing in reality to help families. Family tiers were designed by the cable industry solely to appease Washington lawmakers, not to give a real solution to families concerned with harsh cable content.

 

Thanks to the efforts of the PTC and its broad array of partners in the cable choice battle, the public -- and our public servants -- are becoming aware of the merits of Cable Choice. Across the country newspaper stories and editorials are calling for real cable choice. 

 

Click here to read a sampling of what is being written!

 

TAKE ACTION NOW!  Voice your support for cable consumer choice

The Worst Cable Content of the Week 

 Click Here to Watch the Clip and Read the Review

 

FAQs about Cable Choice


View Clips of Cable TV Content (warning: graphic content)


PRESS RELEASES

ADVERTISER LETTERS

SPECIAL REPORTS


PRESS RELEASES

PTC: Cable Lawsuit Could Pave the Way for Consumer Cable Choice

PTC Files Amicus Brief in Support of FCC’s Authority to Prevent Profanity on Public Airwaves

PTC Urges FCC and Congress to Listen to Consumers, Not Industry Lobbyists

PTC Shows Consumers How Cable Should Be

PTC Hails Antitrust Lawsuit Against Cable Network Bundling

PTC Lauds XM/Sirius for Promising Real Choices for Families

Families Applaud Cable Choice Proposal

Write to Your Congressman and Demand Cable Choice Now!

PTC: Cable Choice Will Give Parents True Control Over TV Content

PTC Praises Sen. McCain's Cable Choice Bill

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

PTC President Bozell Testifies at Senate Indecency Hearing

PTC Dismisses Comcast 'Family Tier'

PTC Calls Time Warner's ‘Family Tier' a "Very Bad Joke"

PTC Calls "Family Tiers" a "Red Herring"

PTC Formally States Position on Cable Choice and Indecency Legislation

PTC Praises Cablevision for Supporting Consumers' Rights to Choose Cable Programs

PTC President Bozell's Statements on Indecency Regulation

PTC Statement on Sen. Stevens' Support of Regulating Cable for Indecency

MTV's Defense of its Offensive Language is Offensive

I Want My Foul TV: More Evidence Proving Cable Industry Campaign to Promote Responsibility is a Sham

PTC Calls FCC 'A La Carte' Report a 'Failure'

PTC Promotes Benefits of A La Carte Cable Television Programming

PTC Asks Congress to Support A La Carte Cable Programming


ADVERTISER LETTERS


SPECIAL REPORTS

Cable Choice is the Right Choice by Tim Winter

AP/Ipsos poll: TV Viewers Want Choice In Their Cable, Satellite Programming

FCC Report: Further Report on the Packaging and Sale of Video Programming Services to the Public

America's Media Speaks Out for Cable Choice!

See the USA Today Ad on Cable Consumer Choice

Brent Bozell's Statement on Cable Consumer Choice

Cable ‘A la Carte' Amendment Major Step in Giving Consumers Choice and Control Over Bills, Programming

PTC Study: I Want My Foul TV: More Evidence Proving Cable Industry Campaign to Promote Responsibility is a Sham

PTC Study: MTV Smut Peddlers: Targeting Kids with Sex, Drugs and Alcohol

PTC Study: Basic Cable Awash in Raunch

The Consumers Union - Statement on Cable Consumer Choice

The Family Research Council - Statement on Cable Consumer Choice

Cable Choice Poll from Concerned Women of America

Give Us Cable Choice for Decency's Sake! from CWA


To get the most popular cable channels, consumers must also pay cable and satellite companies for channels that fewer people watch. Here's a look at the top-rated cable channels and their lower-ranked cousins owned by the same company:

1. Nickelodeon
Owner:
Viacom
Corporate cousins:
MTV, MTV2, VH1, Nick Toons, CMT, BET, Nick at Nite, TV Land, Noggin, Spike TV, Comedy Central.

2. TNT 
Owner:
Time Warner
Corporate cousins:
TBS, Turner Classic Movies, CNNfn, CNN Headline News.

3. Cartoon Network 
Owner:
Time Warner
Corporate cousins:
TBS, Turner Classic Movies, CNNfn, CNN Headline News.

4. Disney Channel 
Owner:
Disney
Corporate cousins:
ABC Family, Soapnet, E! Entertainment Television.

5. Lifetime
Owner:
Disney/Hearst
Corporate cousins:
The History Channel, ESPN, Biography, A&E.

Source: Nielsen Media Research.

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