The American Cable Association (ACA) announced today that it will work with the recently formed National Association of Independent Networks (NAIN) on giving customers more diverse viewing choices.

NAIN, a coalition of independent programming networks with diverse and minority-focused programming, was organized to address the needs of independent programmers, specifically to oppose the practice of “program tying,” which the ACA said was regularly abused by broadcasters and major programming networks at the expense of consumers.

The ACA said it has spearheaded efforts at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and on Capitol Hill to reform programming tying practices that stand in the way of operators offering subscribers greater flexibility, lower prices and more options.

“Forcing cable operators to carry channels that their subscribers don’t want or watch is unreasonable,” said ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka, “but for smaller operators, it is untenable. Tying consumes valuable bandwidth and reduces the amount of diverse and minority programming operators are able to offer their consumers.

“Only the largest programming owners and broadcast groups benefit from the practice of tying. For everyone else, from the subscriber to operator, and the independent programmer whose content is pushed out by limited capacity, it is a lose-lose proposition.  We are happy to have NAIN and its members on our side in this fight and look forward to bringing choice and competition to the programming marketplace.”

Some of NAIN’s founding members include HDNet, the Hispanic Information & Telecommunications Network, The Horror Channel and WealthTV.

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