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Television Businesses Government Republicans The Internet Entertainment News

FCC Takes First Step Toward Allowing More Broadcast TV Mergers (theverge.com) 71

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: In a divided vote today, the Federal Communications Commission took steps that could lead to more consolidation among TV broadcasters, reducing the number of sources of local news. Today's changes revolve around the media ownership cap -- a limit on how many households a TV or radio broadcaster is allowed to reach. The rules are meant to promote diversity of media ownership, giving consumers access to different content and viewpoints. The cap currently prevents a company from reaching no more than 39 percent of U.S. households with broadcast TV. Large broadcasters hate the cap because it prevents them from getting even bigger. And since Trump took office and Ajit Pai was named chairman of the FCC, they've been lobbying to have it revised. The FCC's vote today starts to do that. First, it reinstates a rule known as the "UHF discount," which lets broadcasters have a bigger reach in areas where they use a certain type of technology. And second, it starts plans to revisit and raise the media ownership cap.

FCC Takes First Step Toward Allowing More Broadcast TV Mergers

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Get rid of your TV. Stop watching all that bullshit that keeps you brainwashed.

    • How, most of my friends use their TV as a monitor, again, reminds of early 80s. Some have a Monitor and TV but most just have a TV they use a monitor. Or do you mean ONLY to cut the cable TV, since were I live you really only have Cable internet, if you want any kind of speed...
      • They use the TV as a monitor?! What are they using, Amigas?

        • I use my 55inch 4k TV as a monitor. It's great for playing steam games with friends using a Xbox 360 controller. I refuse to pay 60$ a year for the "privilege" of multiplayer on PS4/Xbox One so when I play anything multiplayer it's on Steam. When I use a wireless mouse and keyboard it's a little painful with lag but it's manageable. Since I only use Windows for Windows-only things, it's the only computer that has Windows installed.

          When I want to do real work, I have a Linux laptop.
        • by mallyn ( 136041 )
          I went further. I built an oscilloscope from the parts of an old tv for my science fair project which showed what sound waves look like when you speak into a microphone.
        • I guess you have never heard of HDMI, since that what my Video card outputs, HDMI and/or DVI.. You could always get a DVI to HDMI connector for you TV. They cost a whole $3.95, that must be expensive for you or order it online and get one for half that price.
    • by mallyn ( 136041 )
      +5000
  • Totally different from state propaganda channels right?
    I mean, Comcast News channel 1, Comcast News Channel 5, Comcast News channel 12 and Comcast News channel 331 are entirely different uh, weather ladies.

    One of them even has Channel capitalized but not the others, so you can tell they're completely different.

    • Totally different from state propaganda channels right?
      I mean, Comcast News channel 1, Comcast News Channel 5, Comcast News channel 12 and Comcast News channel 331 are entirely different uh, weather ladies.

      One of them even has Channel capitalized but not the others, so you can tell they're completely different.

      You mean you actually watch linear television? What, are you 80?

      In case you are: IMO cable has been digging its own grave for the last two decades, and ever since broadcast stations realized that they basically can write themselves a blank check for retransmission fees and squeeze ever more ads in to the same time slots, they've been doing the same thing. Likewise, I wouldn't count on linear television lasting much longer; especially once the baby boomer generation is gone.

      The media companies can go right o

      • You realize that there's not much distinction in corporate ownership, right? NBC is Comcast is 30% of Hulu (ABC has 30%, Fox 30% and Turner 10%). Heck, many popular YouTube channels are owned by the same cartel. PewDiePie's channel was owned by Disney/ABC.

        • Actually, a lot of them are running close to having their Verizon moments. Disney/ABC in particular are currently feeling the sting of cable subscriber losses, especially their ESPN division. In fact, the only reason Disney is still profitable is because they've bought a lot of big name franchises like Star Wars. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if we see at least another 8 more Star Wars movies in addition to the already existing 8. The 9th is mere months away, and when it hits that will be THREE major Star W

  • MSM (Score:4, Informative)

    by speedplane ( 552872 ) on Thursday April 20, 2017 @07:06PM (#54273067) Homepage
    For someone who railed against the "mainstream media", it's surprising that Trump would support a policy allowing the largest media companies to become even larger.
    • Free OTA TV could be a good thing, just like a free Internet could be a good thing (free as in free from being spied on by your ISP, and free as in hosting your own server w/o having to pay for "business class".. still gotta pay a fair price for the service). But no, in the name of the most holy imaginary hand of the free market, everything consolidates under the biggest umbrella to get the biggest profit out of the least effort.

      It doesn't have to be this way. The airwaves, and the Internet, belongs in on

    • You don't become a Billionaire by ignoring revenue streams.
    • For someone who railed against the "mainstream media", it's surprising that Trump would support a policy allowing the largest media companies to become even larger.

      It has zero to do with news. Its an outdated policy that was created back when local was one of the only, if not only choice. It makes no sense today, most people have options.

      • It makes no sense today, most people have options.

        Actually, most people have fewer options than ever. Most media companies are controlled by Walt Disney, Time Warner, CBS Corporation Viacom, or 21st century fox.

        • But there are all the internet based options for entertainment, news, and to some extent sports, providing much more choice than we ever had.
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      For someone who railed against the "mainstream media", it's surprising that Trump would support a policy allowing the largest media companies to become even larger.

      No, it not.
      Trump doing the opposite of what he said at an earlier time is completely expected now by me.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      You need more mergers, otherwise how can there only be one, the 'Big Brother' channel, everyone has to watch and that watches you back. Heck they might as well be one channel, they all repeat the exact same corporate propaganda and they all promote the same shallow narcissistic lifestyle (the lifestyle of their stars and pseudo celebrities). All the channels and just one network, the 'Big Brother' network, the watches you.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Because one owner is easier to control than many owners.

  • there's a Trump post within the top.
  • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Thursday April 20, 2017 @07:27PM (#54273171)

    for the four people who still watch and trust anything on Television.

    • If my social circle is any indicator - Trump voters ;).

      Ironically it does mean less TV choice for people who live in rural America.

    • and like it or not millions of people get their news from those and choose how they vote based on that news. You should be utterly, balls to the walls terrified of this. Billionaires are going to sweep in and buy out the last vestiges of independent news. They're then going to subtlety manipulate people.

      Here's a prefect example: The stories about North Korea's "Super Mighty" strike. The phrase Super Mighty in English sounds childish. It's meant to diminish the perceived threat from North Korea. The word
      • The phrase Super Mighty in English sounds childish. It's meant to diminish the perceived threat from North Korea.

        The problem with your argument is that this phrase was used by North Korea itself, reported by Reuters [reuters.com]:

        The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, struck an aggressive tone earlier on Thursday.

        "In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists' invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes," it said.

        It is easy to forget whil

        • Correct regarding the current state of media being monopolized, but off by about 10 years. We were warned back in the 80s that monopolization would lead to propagandizing of "news" and the people giving warning were absolutely correct.Media in the US Is pure propaganda. Some stations much worse than others (MSNBC/CNN) but they each have a hefty left tilt.

          GP is correct however, that people should be bothered about further monopolization. I have been saying for over a decade that "News" needs to be addres

          • but off by about 10 years

            "two decades, at least" means "twenty or more years". How can a statement that has no starting date be short by ten years?

            GP is correct however, that people should be bothered about further monopolization.

            Changing the 39% value doesn't mean there will become a news monopoly, nor would changing the UHF discount. And considering the huge number of news sources today, claiming that anyone had a monopoly on providing it is just patently absurd.

            Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, all being censored.

            I understand that you are using the term "censored" in the modern, meaningless sense, hoping to evoke fear based on true censorship. None of those medi

            • by s.petry ( 762400 )
              No, I'm using censorship in the correct fashion. You on the other hand are attempting to insinuate that only Governments can censor, which is false. When you point out the TV numbers alone it does not demonstrate the larger scope of the problem. Most likely your intentional way of attempting to minimize any claims that censorship is rampant in the US. It is, you are wrong. Pretty simple.
              • No, I'm using censorship in the correct fashion.

                Your 'fashion' makes the term meaningless. You, yourself, are guilty of censorship under your use, since you chose what words you used and prevented yourself from using ones that you did not want. I "censor" my own postings here; you "censor" yours; others "censor" theirs. By choosing not to post to Twitter, I "censor" Twitter, and ditto Facebook and whatever else. Claiming "censorship" under such a definition is hardly an earth-shattering problem; it is so common that it is meaningless. The only possible u

                • by s.petry ( 762400 )
                  Horse shit. You are free to say what you want as am I. Censorship is blocking speech. How about reading a definition of the word and then applying that definition to my comments. Dumbass.
                  • Censorship is blocking speech.

                    True, meaningful censorship requires some official prohibition, not simply a limitation on what is said by the speaker or the owner of the medium being used to speak. Otherwise, "censorship" occurs every minute of every day in every medium, and the definition you are using is absolutely worthless for anything other than emotional impact. "Censorship bad" is a wonderful meme, but only if you limit the use of "censorship" to actually represent something bad.

                    I understand why you want to use the term that wa

        • The point is how the US Media portrayed it with a notable lack of gravity. The quote was in the headlines of every article. The point is you're being manipulated whether you care to acknowledge it or not.
      • was that the recent "Missile Test"/Attention whore attempt by North Korea.
    • by guises ( 2423402 )
      Unfortunately, it's way more than four and (per Lisa Simpson) they vote at a disproportionate rate.
    • You're right - owning vast swaths of the EM spectrum, esp. the same frequencies coast to coast - is clearly valueless.

  • by kevmeister ( 979231 ) on Thursday April 20, 2017 @07:50PM (#54273251) Homepage
    I have a home in Indio, the largest city in the Coachella Valley of California. It's mostly known for Palm Springs and the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. It's high profile, but not large, Two companies own all of the local broadcast TV stations. One owns ABC, CBS, Fox, and Telmundo stations. The other has NBC and CW. I suspect that they own Univision, but I'm not quite sure.

    That's it for diversity. We see the same news stories from the same reporters, often introduced by the same anchors. This is allowed because we are a "small market". The stations are all "low power" stations. I can watch the same news six times a day, if I really want to be bored.

    I wonder if the two could soon be allowed to merge and reduce local coverage to one source. The new regulations might allow this. News coverage is already badly warped by mega-owners. How many subtly (of not subtly) news stories are ties to Disney movies on ABC stations? I see a LOT. How many commentaries are influenced and news stories perspectives "adjusted" for the corporate masters? I don't know, but I am sure it's a lot. This change is a very bad idea.

    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
      I have no problem with 1 company being able to reach all people in the US. I do have issues with 1 company effectively owning all sources in 1 area, otherwise known as a monopoly. My personal take on this would be no company can own more than 10% of broadcasting entities servicing an area with a minimum allowable of 1. That would seem to spur competition and keep the number of competitors higher than they are today.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Australia got this last year when the 10 (Southern Cross) and 9 (WIN) national networks (named after their original VHF channel) became partners. It allows them to share re-runs and change their schedule every 15 minutes; meaning they promote only the latest episodes of the top ten shows. Because Australian drama is "too expensive", the top shows are reality-based games with non-stop back-stabbing by the contestants.

    • New Zealand got this 20 years ago when the two media companies divided up all the newspapers in the country between them.

      Then they bought all the radio stations. One of them owns a free to air TV network, the other owns the pay TV network. There is a publically owned free to air network, but it owns a (small) share of the pay TV network, so won't compete with it.

      They are now trying to claim they don't make enough money competing with each other so they need to merge.

      Guess who's reporting on that as being

  • Why strip away the best virtue of capitalism, you jackasses?
  • We have a lot of radio statinos in my area. About half of them have teh exact same content.

    Funny how this freedom for the businesses leads to homogeneity.

  • The old rules prevent anybody (with enough money) from buying an outlet in each of the bulk of the markets and setting up a new network. (That would be doable even by parties of relatively modest means, because there are a lot of little stations that are hanging on by their fingernails which might be available cheap.) They're limited to directly reaching about a third of the potential viewers (and partnering with other owners if they want to reach more).

    Meanwhile, they don't keep someone from buying up essentially all the outlets in a particular area (since taking over more of the stations doesn't add any more potential viewers).

    Both of those reduce diversity - the first nationally, the second within regions.

    Seems to me that eliminating the rule would fix the first one and increase the diversity of opinion available to viewers.

    (Meanwhile, if the FCC wants to prohibit something to try to increase diversity, they could limit the number of outlets within each region a single party could own. That would also free up some outlets for new wholly-owned network builders, too.)

    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

      Both of those reduce diversity - the first nationally, the second within regions.

      Seems to me that eliminating the rule would fix the first one and increase the diversity of opinion available to viewers.

      (Meanwhile, if the FCC wants to prohibit something to try to increase diversity, they could limit the number of outlets within each region a single party could own. That would also free up some outlets for new wholly-owned network builders, too.)

      Doing the first without the second gets you into the worst possible situation you can be in.

  • That Verge article is an indoctrination piece. Garbage article from a garbage outfit. The submitter should have found a publication that deals with actual TV broadcasting and linked [broadcastingcable.com] to that article instead of this verge garbage. Come on people, do Your Own Thinking instead of getting indoctrinated.
  • It's hard to imagine less selections than what few we have now. :(
  • I've never heard of a broadcast TV station having a range of more than around a hundred kilometres. How could any broadcast station ever begin to reach anywhere near 39% (49 million!) households? Even stations in New York City are only reaching 19-20 million people, according to the FTC.

    • You mis-read the summary. Go back and re-read it. It's pretty clear that reference total stations owned by any one entity exceeding service to > 39% of households.

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