À la carte programming

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Although it is not currently in existence, à la carte programming is a proposed method of cable subscriptions in the United States, by which cable subscribers would order only those networks they wish to have available. It is distinct from programming packages, in which cable subscribers pay a flat rate for dozens of networks at once.

The proposal has been backed by groups who believe à la carte programming would offer cable subscribers more choice in both what they want to support and what they want to allow into their homes. Many family groups have argued à la carte programming would prevent children from being exposed to more mature content, of which their parents might not approve. However, critics have pointed out that programming packages allow a greater diversity of cable networks to take root and thrive, that popular à la carte networks such as ESPN could charge exorbitant monthly fees for their services, and that networks without cable company pressures could air even more objectionable programming than they already do.