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TV, Now With More Channels Than Ever

cable.jpg Last Monday Nielsen reported the average U.S. home received a record 104.2 television channels in 2006. Take that, Bruce Springsteen and your 57 channels! Yet in an average week, households only watched 15.7 of those channels for at least 10 minutes.

Whether people need to accept all those channels in a lump package is a hot issue. Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin has been outspoken about giving consumers channel-by-channel or “A la carte” cable selection. Last February, he countered his predecessor, former chairman Michael Powell, by reporting that “a la carte and increased tiering could offer consumers greater choice and the opportunity to lower their bills.” But only Congress can make that possible by changing the 1992 Cable Act. The a la carte option has horrified people in the cable industry since it would upend their entire finance system for niche channels (goodbye five versions of ESPN). Some advocacy groups, including the conservative Parents Television Council want to give viewers the right to refuse channels whose content they deem indecent.

[Last year, 86.2% of U.S. households subscribed to cable. See pages 249-251 in the 2007 World Almanac for more TV-related stats.]

Average U.S. Home Now Receives A Record 104.2 TV Channels, According to Nielsen

TV Noise 3 from Danagraves flickr stream


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