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The FCC Won't Let Them Be*

Dec 19, 2007

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Sarah Handel

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The FCC was busy yesterday, handing down two new rules that may have an impact on the average American's media consumption. The first ruling states that no cable company can control more than 30% of the market — the national market. I originally thought it was "of a market," not the market, so I got pretty excited. Can you imagine having a choice of four cable providers? DC is primarily Comcast territory, so the thought of some competition had me envisioning big savings. Think again, Sarah! It's actually nationwide, so it means Comcast, which currently controls nearly 30 percent of the national market, won't be able to grow much. Maybe that'll inspire competition in the local markets, but I wouldn't bet on it. The other rule was pitched as a salvo to struggling newspaper companies — in the 20 biggest markets, companies that own newspapers will also be allowed to own either a radio or a television station, so long as sufficient competition from other independent news sources exists (defined as eight competitors in the market). What do you think about the decisions? Does the cable rule punish the little guys hoping to sell to Comcast, or will it inspire competitors? And will it bother you if your newspaper company also has a radio or television station too? And can newspaper folks do broadcast?

*Apologies to Eminem, but it's been running through my head all day (and I really wish it hadn't been. I'm not such a fan of Mr. Mathers).

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