Field Reports1 Oct, 2003 By: Thomas Haire, Michael Kokernak, Digby Orsmond Response
TruStar's Trudeau Takes a Stand on FTC Case
Response: Do you believe the FTC should change its practices in dealing the DRTV products?
Trudeau: The FTC is not interested in protecting consumers. They do not do thorough investigations before filing complaints. They do not call the companies to request data and they do not initiate open dialogue with companies before complaints are filed. They sabotage and ambush companies so that they can make good headlines and send out press releases justifying their existence. If the FTC were truly interested in protecting consumers, they would attack companies that have received many consumer complaints. The majority of companies attacked by the FTC in our industry have few, if any, customer complaints. The customers like the products they buy.
The FTC should work with business, not against business. There should be cooperation between business and the FTC. Most companies are legitimate, and they want to produce advertising that is fully compliant with the law and deliver good products to their customers. That is why companies in the DRTV industry produce shows, write scripts and spend endless hours and tens of thousands of dollars having the scripts reviewed by legal teams to ensure compliance. Even if 10 FTC expert attorneys review a script and say it is totally compliant, the FTC can still disagree and file an instant lawsuit alleging misdeeds or false and misleading advertising.
Response: What can be done to alleviate these problems between the industry and the FTC?
Trudeau: Very simply, all advertising should be sent to the FTC before it is broadcast. Companies should be required to pay a fee to the FTC, and the FTC should approve advertising before it is broadcast. Therefore, no commercial could ever be in violation and no consumer can ever be hurt. I have proposed this idea repeatedly to the FTC, and I have yet to get a reasonable answer. This would serve both the industry and consumers much better. The industry, which is paying tens of thousands of dollars to attorneys in advance anyway, could send that money to the federal government instead. It would save the government money, save companies money, and protect consumers better than the current system.
CN8 Goes North
Mid-Atlantic regional network marches into New England.
PHILADELPHIA - CN8, the Comcast Network (www.cn8.tv), stretching from Maine to Washington, D.C., was launched in New England in May 2003. Originally started in 1996 by Comcast Eastern Division President Michael Doyle as a way for the cable company to deliver good quality local programming to its subscriber base, CN8 has grown to include several signature shows and specials.
Today CN8, reaching more than 6.4 million subscribers, is one of the nation's largest and most recognized regional 24-hour cable networks, producing live interactive news, talk, sports and entertainment programming. The network, in addition to numerous other awards and nominations, has garnered 144 Emmy nominations in its brief lifespan.
"Our mission is to provide good quality programming to subscribers," explains Cheryl Flamini, vice president of business development for Comcast Cable. She also oversees the finance, administration, and advertising sales for CN8. "Mike Doyle created the budget and platform necessary in order to make our local programming even better, she ays."
Keeping with CN8's original local program mission, the regional network is divided into two feeds. Both feeds share some programming, however, each schedule is tailor-made with its regional audience in mind. The Mid-Atlantic feed, which contains Harrisburg, Pa., New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia, reaches approximately 4.2 million subscribers.
The majority of CN8's programming for both feeds is produced out of the Philadelphia region. For instance, Lynn Doyle, known to viewers of CNBC, QVC and Fox News, hosts a nightly political show named, "Its Your Call with Lynn Doyle," which can be seen on both the New England and Mid-Atlantic feeds. "Lou Tilley's Sports Connection" is a fast-paced sports talk show that features local, regional and national sports.
CN8, which produces 50 hours of original content per week, also showcases sports exclusives including boxing, gymnastics, track and field, figure skating and tennis. Comcast's resources include five studios and more than 60 production facilities that are frequently used for CN8's original productions.