TW's Family Efforts Fail to Convince Subscribers

19 December 2005

US media giant Time Warner's attempts to prove its family friendly credentials have left consumers unimpressed.

The company has unveiled its 'family tier' cable service Family Choice, available from early next year, to hoots of derision from potential subscribers.

The new service, costing $12.99 (€10.83; £7.34) per month, is being offered in response to the Federal Communications Commission's war on broadcasting indecency [WAMN: 01-Dec-05].

The 15 sex and violence-free channels proposed include Discovery Kids, Disney Channel, the Science Channel, Home & Garden Television and CNN Headline News.

But, says disgruntled Parents Television Council president Brent Bozell: "It is perfectly obvious Time Warner is deliberately offering a product designed to fail."

He adds: "According to Time Warner, no family should want to watch sports … no family should want to receive any news channel other than … CNN. According to Time Warner, classic movies are not appropriate for families. And neither is religious programming."

And in a masterful piece of understatement, analyst Craig Moffett comments: "If this is the kind of package that's a model for the industry, it won't exactly make subscribers pick up the phone and switch."

With a perfectly straight face TW Cable chairman and ceo Glenn Britt pointedly responds: "Our customers have always had the tools to actively exclude any channel or program they might find objectionable for their families."

He adds: "This new family tier will offer our customers yet another way to obtain kid-friendly programs without the need for them to take an active role in monitoring shows and deciding on which ones to proactively block from their TV set."

Data sourced from USA Today Online; additional content by WARC staff