Digital Dollars

According to Gary Arlen of Arlen Communications, by way of Jeff Chester's blog, the cable and telco lobbies are spending close to a million dollars a week to promote their telecom bill agendas as House and Senate versions of video franchise reform lumber their way through the halls of the Capitol.

At stake is the multibillion-dollar, multichannel-video market. Say that three times fast.

That mil-a-week figure comes as no surprise to viewers in the D.C. market, who are subjected to sometimes back-to-back ads on the issue, one sending a TV through the roof to illustrate skyrocketing cable rates that only the telco cavalary can shoot down. Another arguing that it was thanks to the cowboy bootstraps of cable entrepreneurs that TV grew beyond a handful of channels to a bucketful of choices.

Chester raises an interesting question. Will that figure soar even higher? With net neutrality becoming the issue du jour, big bucks 'net companies like Google and Amazon may have to weigh in with their own ad budgets.

I can just see the spots now: Internet entrpreneurs in their garages being leveled by bulldozers manned by telco execs.

And so it goes.

By John Eggerton