Indy Film Makers Ask FCC To Promise Them 25% Of Prime Time TV

from the say-what? dept

Matthew Lasar writes in to let us know that a group of independent film makers are asking the FCC to force network TV operators to reserve 25% of prime time airtime for independently produced content. This is an exceptionally strange request. Similar to the effort to bring back the fairness doctrine, this whole concept seems based on the false assumption that network TV has no competition. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. There’s a ton of competition to network TV, from cable TV to the internet to DVDs and plenty of other entertainment sources. To suggest that independently produced content doesn’t have enough channels to reach consumers is simply ridiculous. These days it’s much easier for independently produced content to reach a decent audience, and having the FCC step in and mandate that a certain percentage of prime time network TV be reserved for independent content is simply pointless. Sure, some people may believe that prime time network content is somewhat brain dead, but there are plenty of other options out there.

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Comments on “Indy Film Makers Ask FCC To Promise Them 25% Of Prime Time TV”

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Anonymous Coward says:

This is counterproductive. Broadcast television is a joke. Anyone still watching it predominantly has such poor taste that they wont like your artsy indie crap. Broadcast TV is highly tuned to its audience. If its viewers wanted indie stuff, they’d turn to cable where it can proliferate. By forcing it on broadcast TV viewers, you aggravate them at the same time as disincentivizing their switch to looking for indie stuff on cable, which is a far more wide open field where you can shine.

Broadcast television is the palestine of media–a war-torn battleground where the conflict has been blown out of proportion and into something surreal and barely recognizable. Why duke it out there? Leave it to the people already caught up in it.

SPR (profile) says:


Some satellite systems and cable systems offer the IFC (Independent Film Channel) which airs all kinds of material. Also, there are not a “select few” companies. There are many broadcast companies that are free (within certain parameters controlled by their parent company) to choose their content. In other words, they already have their outlet, they just need to convince cable companies and satellite companies to include it in their channel line-up.

BillDivX says:

this is brilliant!!!

They want better publicity for their works. The prime time air won’t get it for them. Not that the FCC will give them that air time. But something else is at work here…the streisand effect! That’s right. it’s power is clearly growing. Lawyers and business owners are starting to learn (the smart ones anyway) that they need to stay away from it. The next step, is for one of them to learn to control it.

I believe we might soon see the first intentional use of the streisand effect.

think about it. Group wants publicity. Group makes outrageous request to government body to force their publicity upon the people, knowing fully that said request will be laughed at. Request gets laughed at, bloggers get to blogging on it, and presto! instant publicity!

LongfellowX (profile) says:


Like the Fairness Doctrine, this is a call for broadcasting of old — basically a more direct version of the defunct Financial Interest and Syndication rules that Judge Posner disposed of in 1992. The FCC argued then that the FinSyn rules were necessary to ensure program diversity (basically the same argument independent producers are making today). But Posner, looking at the increasing power of cable as a content producer, dismissed the FCC’s argument by noting that for all the significance that the FCC put in the concept of “diversity,” it never even took the time to define it. “Stripped of verbiage,” Posner said, “the [FCC’s] opinion, like a Persian cat with its fur shaved, is alarmingly pale and thin.” As a result of that decision, UPN and WB came into being, and Fox significantly increased its programming lineup.

Make no mistake, this isn’t about diversity, no more than it was in 1992. It’s about money. Independent producers want unfettered access to the treasure of syndication. But as they did in 1992, they fail to see that times have changed. With the Internet, and the advent of IPTV, their argument is less plausible today than it was in 1992. The persian cat has lost some weight.

GoblinJuice says:


WTF?! Promise?!

Yeah, okay, so… basically… you’re admitting your product sucks and there’s no way in hell that the networks would put it on by choice, so you want to FORCE the networks to put it on?

Get a friggin’ clue! Or, better yet, PRODUCE SOMETHING PEOPLE WILL WANT TO WATCH!

I feel like busting someone in the head with a copy of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Hardcover!


This is SO reinforcing my perception of “indy media” being made for and by little, whiny children.

Ugh! I can just imagine some twit in Marin County (that’s just north of San Francisco, folks) complaining about “how the capitalistic system is depriving the American people a chance to see my oh-so-fascinating documentary on the non-native plant life of Andorra!”

Oh, yeah, fuck the Fairness Doctrine. You want fair? Start your own channel. If you can’t afford to start your own channel, start a site. Examples: Hot Air, The Huffington Post and 18 Doughty Street.

Did I mention most of the crap I watch is indy and/or foreign? 😛

Steve says:

Has anyone seen

This reminds me so much of the indy film “This film is not yet rated”. After watching it, I am convinced that independent filmmakers are a pretty whiny bunch. I have watched a few independent films here and there, and I certainly recognize the value of independent film, and that the MPAA actively works to create obstacles for independent filmmakers.


…it’s not the MPAA’s or the FCC’s job to make people want to see independent films.

Also, offtopically, it would be nice if the indies could come to grips with the fact that there are many of us adults out here who genuinely do not want our children, nieces, nephews, grandkids, etc. exposed to certain adult themes behind our backs. When the kids turn 18 and don’t need our permission anymore, you can get in line to preach to them like everyone else!

The Dukeman (profile) says:

Nobody watches it.

I’m convinced that nobody watches broadcast TV, at least not anywhere near the numbers reported by the Networks. Except, of course, the news and PBS. I think it’s just a bunch of made up numbers. I mean, look at what’s on those channels: content not really suitable for children of any age. Let alone adults with brains.

Also, “Independent” content ceases to be so when its producers band together into a group. True independent content comes from garages and living rooms, not production companies.

trollificus (profile) says:

Rank hypocrisy or total failure of critical thinki

So…these ‘independent’ filmmakers, despite the fact they can’t be arsed to create content the networks want to show their viewers…want the networks to show their content to the network’s viewers?? Have I got that right? And this is, somehow, ‘for our own good’??

Never mind the fact that I can ‘not watch’ content that’s on the networks as easily as I can ‘not watch’ content that sits on a DVD in the ‘indie filmmakers’ grubby apartment…this differs from government propaganda only in the minor detail of what’s in that particular hour or half-hour. And God knows we’ve got enough government-sponsored nanny state hectoring already…’for our own good’.

The same could be said of correct political views or uplifting moral thinking (for our own good)…and I’m guessing most of these ‘indies’ would shit themselves if we had too much of that. Matter of fact, they’d probably make documentaries exposing the danger of government-dictated programming…and then demand the government force the networks to show it??

Is that ironic? Or just stupid? It’s so hard to tell sometimes…

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