More Than 80% OK PBS DTV Deal

4/14/2005 10:13 AM Eastern

The digital-carriage agreement announced Jan. 31 by the boards of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the Association of Public Television Stations and PBS has been ratified by public-television stations serving more than 80% of U.S. TV households and MSOs representing more than 80% of cable subscribers.

Under terms of the 10-year agreement, cable operators will carry all analog signals during the digital-TV transition, plus up to four digital-multicast services provided by a single station in each market -- most likely the market’s most widely viewed station.

After analog spectrum has been returned, operators will carry up to four digital-multicast services of each public station in a market.

The United States has about 350 public stations.

“The overwhelming station and MSO ratification of the agreement is a testament to its benefits for public stations and cable systems,” APTS CEO John Lawson said in a prepared statement.

NCTA CEO Kyle McSlarrow added, “Ratification of this agreement represents an important step in ensuring that cable customers will, for the foreseeable future, enjoy the creative, noncommercial digital programming produced by our nation's public-television stations.”

Finally, PBS CEO Pat Mitchell said, “With this agreement and over 300 public-television stations providing digital content to their communities, public television is well-positioned for the digital transition.”

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