NAB CALLS FOR MODEST OWNERSHIP REFORM
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In comments filed today with the Federal Communications Commission, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) expressed its support for modest reform of media ownership rules, including elimination of cross-ownership rules and reform of the television duopoly rule.
Broadcasters “must have the flexibility to form competitively viable ownership structures,” today’s filing read. “Ownership rules that limit the ways broadcasters can compete in a digital, multichannel environment adversely affect stations’ abilities to serve their diverse audiences and local communities.”
NAB noted that local broadcasters’ more prominent competitors “enjoy dual revenue streams of both subscriber fees and advertising revenues” and are not subject to local or national ownership restrictions. “Existing ownership restrictions are not needed to ensure programming, viewpoint, source or outlet diversity in the 21st century media marketplace,” the filing said.
“Simply put, it is untenable to maintain broadcast-only restrictions on the assumption that common ownership of stations could somehow reduce the ability of consumers to access diverse information or harm competition in the information marketplace.”
Specifically, NAB urged the commission to eliminate the newspaper-broadcast and radio-television cross-ownership rules. The group also called for “substantial reform” of the television duopoly rule, urging the Commission to allow combinations in markets of all sizes. “Same-market combinations improve programming generally and promote the provision of news programming specifically,” NAB said.
NAB also expressed its support for the continuing relaxation of local radio restrictions “in light of the increasingly fragmented audio marketplace and the financial challenges facing local stations.”
With regard to ownership diversity, NAB reiterated its support for “incentives to promote new entry and access to capital.”
The entire filing can be viewed and downloaded in PDF format here.