US cable companies to offer family-friendly packages

MUMBAI: Leading cable companies in the US like Time Warner and Comcast are planning to offer family-friendly programming packages early next year, thus giving parents a new way to protect children from televised cursing, sex and violence.

The move has come in response to the pressure from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which is stepping up its push for curbs on indecency.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin has been pushing the industry to give consumers greater control over television programming and has laid out several options, including family-friendly packages. In case this wasn't done, Martin said that they had to agree to indecency standards or agree to provide all channels individually.

He, however, praised the cable industry's move saying,"For several years, I have been urging the cable and satellite industry to give parents additional tools to help them address the increasing amount of coarse programming on television. Offering a family-friendly package has always been one of the options I supported. I am pleased that some cable companies may respond to consumer demand and begin to voluntarily offer family tiers."

"I look forward to hearing more about the details of their plans and hope that it will provide parents with real options to address parents' legitimate concerns with having to purchase programming that they believe is unsuitable for their children," Martin was quoted in media reports.

According to media reports, Time Warner and Comcast are among six American cable-TV companies that plan to offer packages of family-friendly programs.

"They intend to offer family-friendly tiers in the near future. The programs will be offered only on digital-cable. Advance/Newhouse Communications, Insight Communications, Midcontinent Communications and Bresnan Communications also plan to offer programming geared toward families," National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Kyle McSlarrow was quoted in media reports as saying.

Among other cable operators considering the family option is Atlanta-based Cox Communications.

"We want to give people the ability in the home to control the viewing, see anything they want to see as adults and, surely, to protect their children from any content that is unsuitable," McSlarrow is reported to have told the leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee.

He also said that the decisions on pricing and which kid-friendly networks would be included in those packages would be up to the individual cable companies.

The price for these "family-choice tiers" and the channels included would vary among providers, McSlarrow informed. However, it is still uncertain how each company will decide what channels are suitable for a family package.

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories