[opendtv] Re: News: Telecom Bill? Bet on It, Says Barton

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 11:13:42 -0400

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

> Hi Bert!
> I posted a story with more meat about the bill this
> morning.

Indeed it does. Thanks.

> You need to be careful about mixing Apples and Oranges.
> There is a world of difference between the business of
> creating content and the business of distributing it.
> The problem lies when an oligopoly has its fingers in
> both pies, as is the case for the conglomerates that
> own the broadcast networks.

The FCC doesn't seem to differentiate either, though. The national cap
applies whether ownership is of a network that only distributes content
others created, or whether the network itself created the content.
That's why it applies to both Sinclair and to NBC (just to pick two at
random). Neither can own facilities that span more than 39 percent of
the US TV market.

> Keep in mind that the broadcast networks are the ONLY
> distribution channel that reaches 100% of the population
> - they reach all of the OTA laggards, and have virtually
> 100% clearance through cable, DBS and now the Telcos.
> The fact that they do not own all of the stations that
> carry their content does not diminish their reach, only
> their profits.

As you know, I never bought into the national cap much, because there
are local caps that ensure multiple points of view will be aired.
However, I have to believe that the FCC is trying to prevent one owner
from having too much control -- not just of content but also of

For example, let's say Sinclair owned all ABC affiliates. When Sinclair
decided not to air that one Nightline episode in which all the soldiers
fallen in Iraq were named, this ban only affected Sinclair-owned ABC
affiliates. Had Sinclair owned all the ABC stations, no one would have
been able to watch that show. So there's some logic to these national
caps. (Although my response would be who cares? If that Nightline had
been so important, someone else could have acquired it and broadcast

So in this example, cable is being potentially given much more of a
monopoly control that OTA is allowed, it seems to me. Even if one
ignores the fact that cable companies do in fact also create content.

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