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Pay-As-You-See TV to Debut in West Hartford

June 28, 1962 - The first comprehensive test of pay-as-you-see television in the U.S. starts tomorrow night when 300 families in West Hartford, Conn., will have an opportunity to pay $1 to tune in one of last season’s films, “Sunrise at Campobello” (pictured) starring Ralph Bellamy. There will be no commercials. Newton N. Minow, chairman of the FCC, in remarks taped for the opening program, said the outcome of the experiment would be of importance to the entire communications industry. The opening of toll video on WHCT will mark the first time that the program schedule of an American broadcaster will be financed partly by advertisers and partly by members of the audience. When WHCT is not televising pay-as-you-see attractions, it will be offering shows subsidized by sponsors. Viewers in Connecticut will see the show first and pay later. They will be billed on a monthly basis, computed from an electronic tabulation of the shows they have seen. The forthcoming Floyd Patterson-Sonny Liston heavyweight championship fight is expected to give toll TV its most spectacular boost. For a fee of $3.50, many persons will be able to see a bout that will not be televised on live TV. But the main staple of the subscription station will be movies.


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