Peer Review Supports Pro-a-la-Carte FCC Study

FCC Releases Peer Reviews of 10 Media-Ownership-Related Studies

The Federal Communications Commission Tuesday released the peer reviews of its 10 media-ownership-related studies, plus two others, and the results are a mixed bag, but with at least one big present for chairman Kevin Martin.

Among the two others was an FCC staff analysis commissioned by Martin that generally made a case for an a-la-carte cable business model. According to the reviews, releaesed Tuesday, it was found to be sound. The Martin-commissioned study had criticized an earlier study conducted under former FCC chairman Michael Powell that concluded just the opposite.

Martin is a big backer of a la carte as a way to lower cable prices and raise the level of control parents have over cable programming.

"In sum, I found no mistakes or incorrect economic assertions in the further report," said the reviewer, Donald K. Stockdale Jr., an FCC Wireline Competiton Bureau staffer reviewing the FCC staff a-la-carte analysis. "Rather, it appears to present sound economic criticism of the first report, including pointing out the potential costs of bundling and benefits of a la carte."

On the other side, a study that concluded that franchise-build-out requirements would not benefit consumers was found wanting.

A Pew Research Center review of of a Nielsen Media Research study on where and how people get their information was labeled a credible effort, but was cited for a low response rate (2.2%) and the citing of online media brands but not others in the questions.

The 10 ownership studies were generally found to be solid, but with suggested improvements and questions and caveats about some of the findings. All of the peer reviews are available here.

The FCC commissioned the studies as part of its onoing review of its media-ownership rules.

The peer reviews were conducted per Office of Management and Budget rules regarding certain reports from federal agencies.