WASHINGTON-September 16, 2008-Members of the American Cable Association (ACA) ratified a major digital carriage agreement with the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) that will guarantee more than three million American households will view local Public Television stations' multicast programming after the February 2009 digital television transition.
"APTS' goal has been to ensure that Public Television stations' local services are available to everyone they serve," said APTS Acting President and CEO Mark Erstling.
"This ratification by ACA members of our carriage agreement is a significant step forward toward meeting that goal."
PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger said: "PBS is committed to being everywhere our viewers want to access our expanded multicast content, made possible by the digital transition. This agreement helps ensure that all Americans will be able to enjoy all that public service media has to offer."
The agreement was ratified following the Federal Communications Commission's recent adoption of an order exempting small cable operators that are not affiliated with a major cable operator from being required to carry a high-definition (HD) version of local broadcast signals.
The 10-year agreement applies to participating ACA members' HD cable systems and includes digital television (DTV) carriage of Public Television stations after the DTV transition. Under the agreement, cable operators would carry the primary signal of the participating Public Television station on the lowest-priced tier, while multicast channels would be carried on the tier where other multicast channels are carried.
"This agreement is a milestone for Hometown America and an example of how cooperation between broadcasters and cable operators benefits consumers who will now receive the best in national and local PBS programming," said ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka. Polka added he expects more ACA members to sign onto the agreement now that the agreement has been ratified and the FCC has finalized its DTV order.
The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) was established to support the continued growth and development of a strong and financially sound noncommercial television service for the American public. As broadcasters make the transition to digital, APTS is working to ensure the federal government continues its commitment to universal public television services and that those services are available across all platforms. For more information, visit www.apts.org
PBS, with its 356 member stations, offers all Americans - from every walk of life - the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each week, PBS reaches more than 65 million people and invites them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS' broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry's most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS' premier children's TV programming and Web site, pbskids.org, are parents' and teachers' most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.
Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing 1,100 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 7 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA's members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit www.americancable.org
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