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FCC Delays Kids Rule Kick-In

As expected, the FCC has extended the effective date of some of its new children's TV rules so it can consider a deal announced Dec.15 between kids TV activists and TV programmers.

The rule, which deals with minimum quotas of kids programming and limits on commercial matter, had been slated to take effect Jan. 1 but will now not kick in until 60 days after the FCC rules on petitions to reconsider, including the new deal.

"We find that the public interest is served by delaying the effective date of the new rules to permit the Commission to act on the petitions for reconsideration and to afford broadcasters and cable operators additional time to come into compliance with the revised children’s television requirements," the commission wrote, "as such requirements may be modified on reconsideration. The effective date is extended until 60 days after publication in the Federal Register of the Commission’s order on reconsideration." 

Kids TV advocates and representatives and media companies, including the Big Four Networks, agreed Thursday on changes to the FCC's digital kids TV rules that would allow more promos in kids shows, Web-related host selling, with a buffer between the TV character and the online sales pitch, and preemptions for sports and other programming.

It would leave intact the requirement that both analog and digital channels carry three hours a week minimum of educational kids TV programming, which was a key provision for the activists. The rules' counting of promos as ads was a major problem for the networks.
Both sides of the issue had gone to court to challenge the rules for different reasons.