Programming packages

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The American cable system of programming packages is the current system, by which cable subscribers order cable and are given packages of basic cable networks for which they pay a flat rate each month. Common packages include MTV, Lifetime, ESPN, the USA Network, Comedy Central, VH1 and dozens of other networks. In addition, subscribers may order premium channels such as HBO and Showtime. The plan has come under fire since 2003, with critics charging that families and parents are receiving channels they never watch which may include more adult programming than that to which they would prefer to expose their children. Others have rebutted by saying the programming packages allow a greater diversity of cable networks than what would be financially viable under an à la carte programming system.