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IN BRIEF / CABLE

Lawmakers Back a la Carte Channels

May 07, 2003|Edmund Sanders

Hoping to stem rising cable rates, some lawmakers expressed support for allowing customers to buy more channels on an a la carte basis.

"I fail to understand why any customer should be forced to pay for programming they don't want," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said at a hearing in Washington.

Cable executives said entertainment companies, particularly Walt Disney Co., continue to hike prices for content and require cable companies to carry new, untested channels in exchange for access to popular ones, such as Disney's ESPN.

Disney said cable operators are raising rates to preserve profit margins of 30% to 40%.

-- Edmund Sanders

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