[opendtv] Re: FCC on cable ownership caps

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 30 Aug 2009 18:24:13 -0400

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

> One could argue that the networks no longer yield enough power to
> distort the broadcast marketplace, especially now that most consumers
> have moved to subscription services.

Of course, Craig. That's the whole point. And it goes even further.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If the argument for
MVPDs was that there's plenty of competition from other sources of news
and info, i.e. the Internet, then that excuse applies doubly to OTA
station ownership.

Where I live, for example, the cable companies operating in my county
and neighboring ones are only TWO: Compcast or Cox. And worse than that,
each cable household can only connect to one of them.

Compare this with OTA households. Even if a TV network (or other
company, such as Sinclair) is allowed to cover 100 percent of the nation
with its OTA signals, local ownership caps, already in place, prevent
that company from having anything approaching the monopoly of MVPDs.
They cannot ever be the only OTA pipe into homes, like cable and DBS
almost always are.

I think the FCC is right in granting leniency to cable ownership caps,
given the plethora of options out there today, from DBS, from the
Internet, from cell phone companies, etc. SAME APPLIES TO OTA, though,
and then some.

> But you do not see the media conglomerates lobbying for increasing
> the caps as they view OTA as a mature technology that is going away.

Even more reason why there's no longer any excuse for national ownership
caps. Besides which, one of the reasons why certain conglomerates lose
interest in their OTA pipe is that they cannot control it enough to make
it worth their while. Wasn't it Viacom that complained about this? They
don't control the makeup of the multicasts, nationwide, enough to make a
compelling nationwide package.

Here's what I truly do believe, and why I find your arguments so
contradictory. This quote is from the article you posted:


"[...] Although they may not admit it, the FCC and FTC efforts may
spring from the guilt liberal Democrats must feel for perpetuating
ownership restrictions that have hobbled newspapers and broadcasters in
their ability to respond to marketplace pressures. The Dems might feel
kind of stupid, too, if the newspaper-broadcast crossownership ban
outlives newspapers. [...]"

Your comments on "saving broadcast jobs" and your support of ownership
caps for OTA networks or other OTA companies are inconsistent, as far as
I can tell, with all your other political beliefs. Also inconsistent
with your approval for removing ownership caps from monopolistic

The last part of the article warns broadcasters not to ask the FCC for
special favors. I AGREE wholeheartedly. If the courts managed to
understand and reverse the FCC ownership cap on cable systems, why would
the courts not use that same logic for OTA companies?

Michael Powell was entirely on the right track. The he was shouted down
by mostly incoherent arguments.

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