Digital satellite service providers Dish Network and DirecTV have both come out with “family-conscious” programming plans. DishFamily will have 32 channels, and DirecTV Total Choice Family offers more than 40 including local broadcasts.
These offerings may have been accelerated by Congressional hearings into possible legistlation that could regulate programming content. The industry also is going to spend up to $300 million to help educate families how to use the V-chip and other “parental control” features that are already available.
Whether these efforts will be sufficient to dissuade federal legislators from feeling that they have to “do something” remains to be seen. The Law of Unintended Consequences stands in the wings, ready to make a mess of things. One needs to look no further than these new ‘family tier” programming offers. Some senators complained that ESPN was not included in the offers, but the channel is not rated, and thus does not qualify to be included.