Analyst: FCC Ownership Should Reflect Digital Competition

The FCC should consider including pay TV (cable, satellite, telco) and online video as relevant local market competitors to broadcasting.

That is according to media analyst David Bank, a managing director at RBC Capital Markets, in prepared testimony for the June 11 media ownership hearing in the House Communications Subcommittee.

He says that with broadcast TV controlling only about a third of the primetime audience, "it’s clear to us that broadcast TV regulation should probably consider a framework in which pay-TV in total as an ecosystem is a competitor to Broadcasting. This is the case in small and big markets alike."

Then there is the Internet. "[T]he current regulatory framework was constructed in a media ecosystem that basically didn’t include the Internet. While it may have contemplated a broad PC-based Internet consumption environment, it certainly didn’t contemplate a Mobile application based ecosystem," he says.

And while the FCC hasn't changed its rules to recognize that changing market, the financial markets have and are investing accordingly. "[D]igital media has now created, at least on the macro level, a powerful competitor to the media ecosystem that existed in isolation in the prior century. The markets are keenly aware of this and it plays a significant role in the way they fund growth in the choices consumers have for media consumption."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.