The National Assn. of Broadcasters is calling on the FCC to halt its review of the proposed merger of Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable until the agency completes a review of broadcast ownership rules.
The NAB petitioned the FCC to hold the Charter-TW Cable proceedings in abeyance until it completes its four-year reviews of the ownership regulations, which the broadcasters characterized as needing an update to “better reflect competitive realities.” The NAB noted that the 2010 and 2014 reviews have yet to be completed.
“The FCC has repeatedly failed its congressional mandate to review and update broadcast ownership rules while, on the other hand, approving massive consolidation amongst pay-TV providers,” said NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith. “The commission should fulfill its statutory obligation so it can better factor in the effect another combination of behemoth cable companies will have on local broadcast stations and the millions of viewers who rely on our service.”
Broadcasters argue that the consolidation of the cable and satellite business has put them at a competitive disadvantage and that approval of the Charter-TW Cable merger would mean that the top four pay-TV providers would control 79% of the national market, in terms of subscribers.
The current rules limit ownership of TV stations to a collection that reaches no more than 39% of all U.S. TV households.