NAB: Streaming Needs To Get Its Competitive Due

(Image credit: Future Media)

Whether it is Spotify or Netflix, streaming platforms compete with broadcasters for eyes, ears and ad dollars and the FCC's regulatory approach must reflect that.

The National Association of Broadcasters tried to hammer home that point in an ex parte filing with the FCC over media ownership regulations.

The FCC is currently vetting its long-delayed 2018 quadrennial regulatory review, the congressionally mandated review of regulations and whether they are necessary in the public interest.

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While the filing is mostly an argument against local radio ownership restrictions, NAB also makes the case for why both the audio and video marketplaces have been changed by the “relentless” rise of streaming, a reality it says some want to ignore. "While this submission primarily responds to invalid claims made by those opposing reform of the local radio rule, NAB’s legal and economic analyses also refute arguments against ownership rule reform more generally, including for local TV broadcasters," NAB said. 

Historically, the FCC has excluded streaming from the competitive marketplace for broadcast TV and radio, but NAB suggests that view diverges from an obvious reality.

"[C]ommenters insisting that audiences and advertisers do not substitute nonbroadcast outlets for broadcast radio (or TV) stations have no real explanation (or offer any empirical evidence providing an explanation) for stations’ undisputed declines in audience levels and drops in ad revenues...One cannot dismiss as a mere coincidence that broadcast stations lost audiences, advertising revenues, and ad market share virtually in lockstep with the shift in audiences to other content platforms, especially streaming." ■

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.