We were surprised to see the name Conan O’Brien listed in a headline at the Parents Television Council website. His humor may be edgy, but he is not known to work blue. It turns out that PTC simply believes he may not be everybody’s cup of tea, and if people don’t want to watch him, they shouldn’t have to pay for the basic cable channel that carries him.
PTC said that when O’Brien was plying his trade for NBC, if you didn’t like him, you might simply change the channel. You weren’t paying for him to be on the free-of-charge offerings of a broadcast network.
But if you change the channel away from O’Brien’s soon-to-be-occupied slot on TBS, you still have to pay for TBS under the current prevailing cable pricing model.
PTC says that the fact that subscribers underwrite channels such as TBS is the reason they have the money to spend on talent like O’Brien, or programming that would not be popular enough to see the light of day on a broadcast network. They said it goes against the natural laws of an open marketplace.
“Only when every cable and satellite subscriber has the option of selecting the networks they wish to watch and paying for those alone, without having to subsidize thousands of programs on hundreds of channels they never watch and don’t want, will the American people receive a truly fair deal from cable.”
RBR-TVBR observation: For our part, we have often been at odds with PTC over television content, and we have often urged them to use the channel function on their own television sets when they don’t like something, an act made easy with modern remote channeling technology. It is refreshing to see in their own words that the group is familiar with the channel changing concept.