Media Companies Still Seeking Double Standard On Consolidation
from the party-line dept
The FCC’s been doing a series of “town meetings” in various places around the country to discuss media-ownership rules, and they typically provide a nice illustration of how the media industry wants to bend government regulations to suit its purposes and hinder the rest of the market. The FCC held such a meeting (via Orbitcast) in Tampa this week, where people from various media outlets talked about how they should be allowed to consolidate to their heart’s content, while members of the public voiced their dissatisfaction with the effects of all that consolidation on local media. In particular, it’s worth highlighting this quote from the incoming president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters, the state’s trade group of TV and radio stations:
“Anyone with a computer can now compete to serve the local audience,” said Bill Carey, general manager of WFTS-TV and incoming president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters, who advocated for looser rules that would allow companies to own more outlets. Those new outlets are serious competitors for news, Carey said, and illustrate how traditional media companies need more flexible rules for how they operate.
By “flexible rules”, he means that the companies should be free to buy up any media outlet they wish, with no restrictions on the number controlled in a single market by a single owner. Of course, when XM and Sirius want to merge, it’s a different story from traditional broadcasters. This guy’s comments highlight the competition old media outlets are facing from upstarts, be it satellite radio companies or, as he puts it, “anyone with a computer”. They’d also seem to further undermine the NAB’s hypocritical contention that its members don’t compete with satellite radio, as well as the industry’s double standard in asking the government for the ability to merge at will, while trying to block the XM-Sirius merger.