Tune In, Turn On, Sort Out

Cable TV's success brings fierce rivalry and growing scrutiny

Cable television was a strapping adolescent when Congress agreed in 1984 to free the industry from regulation to give it room to grow. Since then the business has developed with a passion. Now a vigorous adult, cable reaches 54% of U.S. television homes and has annual advertising revenue of more than $1.8 billion, compared with just $60 million in 1980. But the industry's rapid expansion and newfound clout have prompted sources ranging from consumer groups to motion-picture studios to call loudly for renewed regulation.

In perhaps the strongest action yet, Senator Albert Gore last week introduced a bill that would empower...

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