[opendtv] News: Disney Doesn't Seek Ownership Rule Revise

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: OpenDTV Mail List <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006 08:05:06 -0400

Hey Bert

Looks like the times are changing and the value of Free To Air Television may finally be starting to plunge...

First NBC acknowledged that Network news is a dinosaur as is restructuring, eliminating 700 jobs. Now Disney is no longer interested in acquiring more TV stations, and just told the FCC that they may face a future where they need to provide incentives to get people to operate OTA stations.

But the local stations are still concerned about consolidation - they should be concerned that carrying network programming will be a liability, not an asset...

I guess the Networks are more concerned now with figuring out how to get the laggards like you to pay for Free TV like the rest of us.

You could see this coming in the early '90s when the U.S. chose a DTV standard that was certain to fail...

Regards
Craig


http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6384242.html?display=Breaking+News&referral=SUPP&nid=2228

Disney Doesn't Seek Ownership Rule Revise
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/24/2006 12:45:00 PM

Disney isn't asking the FCC to loosen any of its ownership rules, saying it already has more than enough stations and is looking to using other platforms for content delivery.

With its 10 owned stations covering not quite 24% of the nation, it is well below the national ownership cap of 39%--although that cap is not on the table in the rule rewrite having already been legislated by Congress.

What is definitely in play is owning more multiple stations in markets and owning a station and newspaper in the same market.

Disney also points out that it has not bought a TV station in more than 10 years and sold its interest in the newspaper business a while back as well. It is also going the other direction on the radio side by divesting a, "large number" of its stations.

Disney, instead, says it is looking at new content platforms, including reported talks with telcos about setting up a dedicated content streaming service and being at the forefront of putting high-value content on the Internet.

"Given the increase in, and attractiveness of, new media outlets," the company wrote in a one-page --technically two-- filing in the FCC's media ownership rule review, "in Disney's view, the commission may soon find itself considering ways to incent, rather than restrict, ownership of over-the-air broadcast stations.

However, Disney wishes to repeat that it is not advocating and does not seek any relaxation of the commission's broadcast ownership rules."

The first round of FCC comments were due Oct. 23.

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6384449.html?display=Breaking+News&referral=SUPP&nid=2228


Stations Seek End To UHF Discount By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/24/2006 3:22:00 PM

Network affiliates are asking the FCC to take steps to keep networks from being able to own more stations after the digital transition, and to preserve the rule preventing any two of the Big Four networks to merge.

In its comments to the FCC's media ownership rule rewrite, the Network Affiliate Stations Alliance said that the FCC needs to sunset its 50% discount on UHF stations before the transition to digital. The FCC only counts half of a UHF station's reach toward its national cap of 39% of TV households.

The commission has indicated the technical basis for the discount will be eliminated by the digital transmission because the relative signal strength of VHFs and UHFs will be effectively equalized.

But after the transition, many VHF stations are moving to the UHF band, where there coverage will suddenly be halved, says NASA, if the discount remains. Otherwise, they argue, networks will be able to increase their holdings above current limits. But NASA doesn't want to be unnecessarily punitive, saying the networks reach should be grandfathered when the discount is discarded, otherwise, it says, all of their current holdings would suddenly exceed the cap.

NASA said that the dual network rule was still needed and that the networks were not "in such a weakened condition in the new competitive landscape that an abandonment of the dual network rule would be justified."


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