As promised, the cable industry unveiled its Take Control program yesterday, aiming to educate parents on TV controls they may not know how to use.
The general thrust of the campaign, unveiled at a National Cable & Telecommunications Association press conference in Washington, is that the combination of digital boxes, analog boxes, V-chip-equipped sets, and free blocking technology for anyone who asks for it, provides that control today if subscribers can be better educated about the power they already have.
Starting June 1, the on-screen TV rating will be “dramatically” larger, and will be inserted after every commercial break.
The campaign will also include the following:
- A $250 million parental education PSA campaign
- Partnerships with Best Buy and Circuit City to supply parental control info at the time of TV purchase
- Local events co-sponsored by the PTA, giving parents additional access to parental-control information
Bozell is unimpressed. The PTC prez characterized the plan as an attempt “to spin the public with a multi-million-dollar campaign to promote channel blocking and V-chip technologies as an adequate remedy for families concerned about their children being exposed to violent, profane and sexually explicit programming.”
“This $250-million sham,” he continued, “is being foisted on American consumers by the cable industry with the sole purpose of shirking responsibility for its product.”
More from Bozell:
“It is not enough to talk about putting up warning signs,” Bozell stated. “Consumers should have the ability to opt out of cable programming they find offensive and not be forced to subsidize those networks.
“Better yet, why doesn’t Hollywood just stop flooding television with sewage?” he concluded.
The cable industry maintains that so-called a la carte programming is not a viable business model.
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