Broadcast Regulation

INTERNATIONAL | Industry Regulator Calls For Overhaul Of Broadcasting And Media Marketplace

Mr Ajit Pai, the incumbent chairperson of the Federal Communications Commission, the body that regulates and manages the broadcast media industry in the United States, has called on policy-makers in the U.S. to implement a wholesale, root-and-branch overhaul of the broadcasting and media marketplace, saying that current rules governing the marketplace are either redundant or adversarial to broadcasters.
In a speech to the American Media Institute, the FCC outgoing chairman said: "We need a fundamental, intellectually honest reassessment of what the media marketplace looks like now and ask why broadcasters should have special rules at all".
Ajit Pai noted that in an environment where, for example, Google and Facebook in 2020 will bring in more ad revenue than every T.V. and radio station in the U.S. combined, broadcast media operators are already subjected to more regulations than these digital companies that are now in the same business as they are.
Pai said, "I believe that the federal government needs to rethink the very concept of media ownership regulation. For instance, we don't have special rules about how many social media outlets you can own. We don't have special rules for how many streaming services you can own. We don't have special rules limiting how many people your internet platform can reach. For some reason, the only rules and regulations we have are for broadcasters."
"There is "a fundamental refusal to grapple with today's marketplace" Pai continues. "When assessing competition, people are obsessed with the numerator, so to speak — the size of a particular company, for instance — that they've completely ignored the explosion of the denominator — the full range of alternatives in media today, many of which didn't exist a few years ago."

"When you ask the intellectually honest questions, the answers raise serious doubts about whether the FCC should have media ownership regulations at all" Pai concluded.

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