Gather some of cable’s most articulate programmers, bring up family tiers and watch how quiet they become. That was the case during a NATPE panel session, with the most pro- tier comment coming from Comcast program czar Jeff Shell: "We’ve done the best we can." Disney/ESPN’s Sean Bratches acknowledged public pessimism over family tiers; he’s concerned a la carte will return should family tiers fail. "I’m worried about what happens when [FCC chmn Kevin] Martin asks how the tiers are doing and we have to say, ‘Not well.’" Bratches and Discovery’s Bill Goodwyn said cable would have done better by adopting voluntary indecency standards—a move regulators warmed to until Fox and Viacom scuttled the deal. Shell, Bratches, Goodwyn and NBCU’s Doug Holloway agreed that a la carte would lead to fewer choices and higher bills. But we expected them to say that, right? – Amenable Mobile: The panel predicted good times ahead for content owners—even if syndication is hurt by a plethora of new video platforms. "It used to be that the hard part was getting your show on," Shell said. "Now it’s much easier to find a way to get a show distributed in some form." It’s the proliferation of video distributors that traditional networks are trying to understand. "The big question is, ‘How do we make money?’" Goodwyn asked. "The economic model hasn’t revealed itself. We’re playing across all platforms."

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