NAB: Broadcasters Are Video Competition Player
Cites rise in program offerings, including news, and consumers' continued reliance on FOTA
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/11/2012 11:51:56 AM
That came in comments for the FCC's next video competition report.
In its filing, NAB said that free over-the-air TV is now the primary program delivery vehicle for 17.8% of (or more than 20 million) U.S. TV households, a disproportionate number of them with Asian American, Hispanic and African American heads of households.
NAB also cited an "exponential" increase in the amount and type of programming, driven in part by the multiplication of multicast digital channels -- from "2,518 channels at year-end 2010 to an estimated 4,552 channels by year-end 2011," said NAB.
It also pointed to record highs in the number of hours of news offered per weekday, and the second highest local news staffing numbers "on record."
The association says that more than 130 stations in 30 states are also making "significant" amounts of programming available to handheld devices via mobile DTV.
"By improving their service offerings, broadcasters have remained competitive and viable, in spite of a regulatory regime that limits their ability to develop efficient combinations and attract capital," NAB told the FCC. "The Commission should consider regulatory relief with regard to its ownership and attribution rules to permit broadcasters to realize greater efficiencies and investment. The well-functioning system of retransmission consent also is critical to broadcasters' ability to develop and expand their service to the public."
The FCC has an open docket on some light-touch, and potentially not-so-light-touch changes to its retrans rules, the former clarifying what it considers good faith negotiations, the latter proposing to suspend exclusivity and non-network duplication rules during retrans impasses, which would allow cable and satellite operators to negotiate with competing stations. The commission is not expected to take any action on either of those proposals anytime soon.
The FCC is also currently reviewing its media ownership rules under direction from the courts and a periodic review required by Congress. But it is not expected to take any action on that before the upcoming election, and perhaps not until sometime next year.
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