Press Release Video Marketplace Media Consolidation

Public Knowledge to Join DOJ Roundtable on Anticompetitive Broadcasting Regulations

May 31, 2018 , , , ,

Today, Public Knowledge Senior Counsel John Bergmayer will join a Department of Justice roundtable on anticompetitive regulations at 10:30 a.m. During the roundtable, Public Knowledge will highlight a number of areas where outdated rules prop up old ways of doing business and unnecessarily — and unfairly — benefit large broadcasting chains like Sinclair and Tribune Broadcasting.

The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Senior Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“The broadcasting industry has changed, and industry giants like Sinclair do not need the FCC's thumb on the scale in their favor in marketplace negotiations.

“While much of broadcast regulation should be rethought in general to promote localism and diversity through structural means, in the meantime the FCC can at least get rid of interventions that unfairly benefit broadcasting giants.  

“For example, network non-duplication and syndicated exclusivity rules allow broadcasters to use the FCC to enforce their private agreements and lower the negotiating costs of broadcasters at public expense. They should be rolled back. Basic tier buy-through rules make it illegal for cable operators to offer true à la carte service. They should be eliminated. In fact, the entire broadcast compulsory license and retransmission consent system should be rethought, and at least reformed.

“In some areas, the problem is a lack of FCC rules. In some areas, a lack of enforcement. But in some areas rules that benefit incumbents that no longer need government protection stick around far past their expiration date. In today's testimony, Public Knowledge will touch on the rules mentioned above as well as other rules that stand in the way of the public interest instead of serving it.

“These antiquated rules drive up prices and reduce consumer choice. The DOJ should join with consumers and support regulatory and other reforms that open up the broadcast programming market to more competition.”