Comcast Unveils Family-Friendly Tier

Dec 22, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Cable giant Comcast became the second cable operator to officially introduce a family-friendly tier of programming, announcing Thursday a plan in which it will offer a 16-channel package for $14.95 a month.

The Family Tier, as it will be called, will be available to customers who have a digital cable set-top box and receive Comcast’s 20- to 25-channel basic-cable tier of service, which generally includes all local broadcast channels and public access programming.

Channels in the family-friendly tier include Disney Channel, Toon Disney, PBS Kids Sprout, Discovery Kids, Science Channel, Nickelodeon/Nick Too, Nickelodeon Games & Sports, Trinity Broadcasting, HGTV, Food Network, DIY, CNN Headline News, The Weather Channel, National Geographic, C-Span and C-Span 2. The tier will also include what the company described as “significant Hispanic programming,” including Univision and Telemundo.

Company officials said consumers who receive the Family Tier would likely have monthly cable bills of around $31.20 on average, which includes the $12 a month average rate for basic cable, the $14.95 a month for the Family Tier and a $4.25 a month fee for the digital set-top box.

Comcast becomes the second cable operator to offer a family-friendly tier of service. Time Warner Cable on Dec. 15 unveiled its version of the family-friendly tier to a lukewarm reception from Wall Street analysts and advocates for family-friendly programming on television.

The move by both cable companies comes after regulators’ increased scrutiny of television content some find objectionable.

Comcast said the content selected for the Family Tier is primarily rated TV-G and has limited live entertainment programming. The material also had to encompass a broad range of general entertainment and family programming, was widely distributed across Comcast’s cable systems and met existing contractual programming agreements.