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DirecTV Sets Family Package

January 19, 2006|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — DirecTV Group Inc., the biggest U.S. satellite television provider, on Wednesday became the latest to say it would offer a package of channels aimed at weeding out programming that might be inappropriate for children.

The biggest cable companies, including Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc., have announced packages designed to please families, lawmakers and regulators who are worried about sexual and profane material on television.

DirecTV's package will consist of more than 40 channels, including Viacom Inc.'s Nickelodeon, Time Warner's CNN Headline News, the Weather Channel and NRB Network.

The package, to be available in mid-April, will cost $34.99 a month and include local broadcast channels, the company said.

"We have answered the call from concerned parents and policymakers and have designed a programming package to meet the needs of DirecTV families," Dan Fawcett, executive vice president for programming at DirecTV, said in a statement.

The company had 14.93 million subscribers as of the end of the third quarter last year.

The Senate Commerce Committee today plans to hold a hearing at which it will receive an update from the television industry on its efforts to assuage concerns about racy programming.

Executives from EchoStar Communications Corp., CBS Corp. and Comcast are expected to testify along with Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council, which has fought what it considers to be indecent content on TV.

Bozell and consumer group Consumers Union said that the industry's offerings were not enough and that they would press for consumers to be able to pick the channels they want.

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