Minority Media Council Wants Ad Nondiscrimination Rule To Apply To Cable

Group asks FCC to launch rulemaking also applicable to satellite, telcos

The Minority Media & Telecommunications Council wants the FCC to extend its broadcast advertising nondiscrimination rule to cable, satellite and telcos as well.
In a filing Monday, the group asked the FCC to launch a rulemaking to "ensure an equal footing for a services in the fight against advertising discrimination."
In its March 5, 2009, order adopting a dozen initiatives to boost minority media, the FCC required broadcasters to certify that their do not discriminate on the basis of race or gender. Minority media had long complained of so-called "no urban" and "no Spanish" dictates in ad contracts that effectively excluded a large swath of minority-targeted media.
At the time, MMTC said the ban on broadcast ad discrimination was the "most significant new federal nondiscrimination mandate in any industry in over 30 years," saying it could help recover the $200 million a year minority media lost out, a sum looking even more important as the ad pool continues to dry up in the tanking economy.
The broadcast portion of that is about $125 million, MMTC estimates, so extending the discrimination ban to cable, satellite and telco video services would add another $75 million to the potential yearly take. Extending the ban would also further the FCC goals of regulatory parity and neutrality, MMTC argued.
"These [no urban/no Spanish] dictates distort the marketplace by driving down minority owned and programmed stations' power ratios," MMTC said in its filing Monday. "
The MMTC request comes a week after acting FCC chairman Michael Copps said he had begun the process of building a factual record for more steps to boost minority participation in the media.