It won't replace “free” TV any time soon


Americans have always grown up thinking they should be able to watch television for free. Cable TV shook that cherished assumption, and, now pay-per-view (PPV) telecasts threaten to topple it once and for all. Championship prizefights, star-studded pro wrestling shows and current hit movies are all standard fare on pay-per-view, generating hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Next year's Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, will be the first ever shown on PPV as well as on broadcast television. Still, limited channel capacity threatens to retard pay-per-view expansion in the years just ahead. And professional team sports are under heavy pressure to keep their championship events—especially the Super Bowl and the World Series—available to all TV viewers at no charge.

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