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FCC’s Google Sympathies Noted, But Claim Isn’t Unique to Wheeler

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has joined the parade poking the Federal Communications Commission for what many see as Google-friendliness on various fronts.

The Tom Wheeler-led FCC is hardly the first commission to generate speculation about the influence of the powerful search engine. One media wag, for example, once christened Julius Genachowski “Googlechowski,” suggesting he was a kindred regulatory spirit when it came to imposing network-neutrality regulations on Internet-service providers while not regulating edge providers. Genachowski told then-National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Kyle McSlarrow that the focus was not Google, but “the next Google.”

But with chairman Wheeler insisting edge providers are beyond the FCC’s regulatory reach, and proposing a set-top box regime that could give Google access to multichannel video providers’ set-top data, the chatter about this Google’s rise as a lobbying power inside the Beltway has become something of a drumbeat.

Beating that drum last week in a blog post, with accompanying cartoon, was the TPA, which illustrated a blog by its president, David Williams, with a cartoon (pictured) depicting a particularly telling renovation at FCC headquarters.

Asked about Wheeler’s alleged Google-centricity, a spokesperson for the chairman responded: “Chairman Wheeler’s proposals aim to give consumers access to increased innovation, improved access to critical communications networks and more competition. These policies — from preventing fast lanes on the Internet to opening up wireless airwaves for new mobile technologies — are intended to empower consumers rather than favor any particular company.”

— John Eggerton

NCTA Talks to NAB, Hopes Confabs Can Minimize Conflicts

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the National Association of Broadcasters often find themselves on opposites sides of policy arguments.

Next April, their main conventions also are in (partial) conflict. The next NAB Show is April 22-27 in Las Vegas, and NCTA’s next INTX: The Internet & Television Expo is April 26-28 in Washington, D.C.

The NAB Show is far bigger than INTX, with a reported 103,012 attending and 1,874 exhibiting this past April. The NCTA doesn’t report INTX figures but predicted at least 8,000 would attend the May gathering in Boston. A non-NCTA source told The Wire about 6,500 attendees and 170 companies ended up being there. But when INTX is in NCTA’s hometown of D.C., the attendance numbers rise as government figures can attend easily.

NCTA officials recently thanked speakers who helped out at NCTA and said they were working to minimize conflicts resulting from the schedule clash. (INTX booked its D.C. date in 2010.) How so? Mainly by working with the broadcasters’ group on when to book key public-policy speakers, NCTA senior director of communications Joy Sims said.

NAB executive VP of communications Dennis Wharton confirmed the effort at convention comity, saying, “We are working closely with our friends at NCTA to make sure FCC commissioners and other public policy folks can attend both the NAB Show 2017 and INTX.”

If only Congress could be so cooperative.

— Kent Gibbons

‘Versailles’ in NYC: Ovation Sends French Fare to Ad Agencies

To promote the Oct. 1 premiere of costume drama Versailles, Ovation TV is sending a French street-food truck to New York City ad agencies this week. On Monday it’s at MediaCom USA, Mindshare, Maxus and Meta, 498 Seventh Ave.; Tuesday, it’s at OMD at 195 Broadway; Wednesday, Carat at 150 E. 42 St.; Thursday, Mediavest and Starcom at 1675 Broadway; and Friday, UM, Initiative and BPN at 100 W. 33 St., per the network.

Bon appétit!