With some basic cable channels like FX, MTV, and Comedy Central carrying more and more adult-oriented programming, it’s time for cable and satellite operators to move those channels to an advertiser-supported premium tier. Pro-family groups like the Parents Television Council (PTC) have been complaining about adult content on basic cable channels for years. They argue that people should not be required to receive or pay for channels they object to in order to gain access to ESPN and CNN. Their proposed solution has been to call for cable and satellite companies to offer their basic channels on an a-la-carte basis. However, the cable and satellite industry has resisted such a concept, claiming that it would have the intended consequence of driving up the cost of pay-TV services.
Adding an advertiser-supported tier would be a good compromise. Subscribers would have to opt in to this tier, just like they do when choosing to subscribe to premium channels like HBO and Showtime. However, instead of paying $12 or more per month like they do for each traditional premium channel, one could get the entire package of advertiser-supported premium channels for less than $10 month. It would be a win-win situation. People who don’t want the adult-content would not have to receive it into their homes, nor would they have to pay for it. At the same time, the producers of the shows on those channels would get even more artistic freedom, since they will be viewed only by those who consciously choose to have them in their channel lineup. In other words, they wouldn’t have to worry as much about complaints from viewers. It’s an idea whose time has come.