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McSlarrow Says IPTV Isn't Threat

National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Kyle McSlarrow says his industry should not feel threatened by IPTV.

When asked by C-SPAN's Susan Swain-- in an interview for series, The Communicators--how to respond to ABC's announcement that it would stream its most popular programming free on the Internet, he said he didn't see the change as "cataclysmic," pointing out that everyone is still experimenting.

He also didn't see it as a threat to cable program deliver. "You cannot get the integrated bundle of voice, video, and data, on both a wired and wireline platform, except on cable," he said. There is no substitute for that triple play, and, "you can't get that on one platform."

McSlarrow also said that the evidence suggested that putting programming on multiple platforms tended to be additive, meaning that it actually increased viewing to the program on other platforms rather than canibalized it. "They [ABC] have actually sparked more viewership to the core broadcast programming. The more you are able to market shows, the more you are going to generate core viewing."  Besides, he says, "even if you are talking about a broadband offering, cable is the number one broadband provider in America. So, one way or the other, we are going to benefit."

When asked to react to the broadcast network and station court challenge to the FCC's profanity rulings, McSlarrow said it "was not a surprise," and that  he couldn't blame the FCC for doing its best to enforce the rules.

But he said the fundamental indecency problem is a "mismatch" between "what everybody recognizes," which is that not all content is suitable for children, with the fact that there are increasingly tools to block channels or shows, set-top boxes for cable, or a V-chip for braodcast, which does "largely the same thing."

"When it comes to the first amendment in terms of the broadcasters suit, He said, "the FCC is applying the law. They have to do what Congress told them to do. But I think everybody recognizes that to force someone to make that [indecency] judgment, it's always going to be somewhat arbitrary and may not reflect what others think about programming.

"I'm not going to criticize the FCC for applying the law," he said. "I just think we have to get to a world where the individual decisions are made in the home."