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Politics Mondays: Letter From Congressional Black Caucus Members To Senator Ted Stevens And Senator Daniel Inouye RE: "A La Carte" Pricing For Cable And Direct Broadcast Satellite Services

Dear Chairman Stevens and Ranking Member Inouye:

In the recent forums that you have conducted on indecency legislation, the issue of offering "a la carte" program services on cable and direct broadcast satellite services has once again been brought into the debate. As we made clear last Congress, we oppose an "a la carte system" and believe it is likely to have the effect of reducing diversity of programming while at the same time increasing costs to the consumer.

In the last several years new cable networks have been created such as TV One, a cable network for African Americans and ESPN Deportes, a Spanish language sports network. In an "a la carte" world, it would have been next to impossible for these channels to have been launched. More troubling, if an "a la carte" system were to become reality, these channels, and others like them that offer diversity in programming, might not survive.

These channels cannot exist with only the subscription fees they charge to cable companies. Revenue from a national advertising base is essential. In an "a la carte" world, the potential advertising base for niche channels would be severely eroded, This would lead to less advertising dollars for the programmer, an increase in licensing fees and an increase in consumer costs. This ultimately leads to fewer choices for consumers. This has been confirmed by a lengthy analysis conducted by the non-partisan General Accounting Office (GAO).

We urge you in considering any indecency legislation not to support any "a la carte" regime, The great strides made in diversification of programming would be severely threatened and the cost to consumers would surely rise.

Thank you for your consideration.


Bobby L. Rush - Member of Congress
Melvin L. Watt - Member of Congress
Major R. Owens - Member of Congress
Albert Russell Wynn - Member of Congress
Donald M. Payne - Member of Congress
John Conyers, Jr. - Member of Congress
Edolphus Towns - Member of Congress
Kendrick B. Meek - Member of Congress
Gregory W. Meek - Member of Congress
Stephanie Tubbs Jones - Member of Congress
Harold E. Ford, Jr. - Member of Congress
Danny K. Davis - Member of Congress
Eleanor Holmes Norton - Member of Congress
Corrine Brown - Member of Congress
Donna M. Christian-Christiansen - Member of Congress
Elijah E. Cummings - Member of Congress
Sanford D. Bishop - Member of Congress
James E. Clyburn - Member of Congress
Sheila Jackson Lee - Member of Congress
Al Green - Member of Congress
Carolyn C. Kilpatrick - Member of Congress
G.K. Butterfield - Member of Congress
Charles B. Rangel - Member of Congress
Emanuel Cleaver - Member of Congress
William J. Jefferson - Member of Congress
Jesse Jackson, Jr. - Member of Congress
Bennie G. Thompson - Member of Congress
Maxine Waters - Member of Congress
John Lewis - Member of Congress
Chaka Fattah - Member of Congress
Artur Davis - Member of Congress

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus released this letter to Senators Ted Stevens, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Daniel Inouye, Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee, on February 15, 2006.

Monday, February 27, 2006

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The views and opinions expressed herein by the author do not necessarily represent the opinions or position of or Black Electorate Communications.

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