As Tech Industry Boosts Lobbying Spending, Showbiz Outlay Stays Largely the Same

Major tech companies, under increasing scrutiny for a host of issues in Washington, boosted their spending on lobbying in 2017, while many of the content companies often at odds with Silicon Valley kept their budgets largely the same.

The influence spending is typically a function of pending issues before lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and internet companies faced a host of legislation on privacy, data security, child online sex trafficking, and web ad disclosure. Last fall, representatives from Twitter, Google, and Facebook testified before three congressional committees on the use of their platforms by Russian sources to try to influence U.S. public opinion.

According to recently released expenditure forms filed with Congress, Google spent $18 million on lobbying in 2017, compared to $15.4 million a year earlier. Facebook spent $11.6 million, versus $8.7 million the previous year. Twitter’s spending actually went down, but it was just a fraction of other internet giants: $561,000 in 2017 vs. $680,000 in 2016.

Amazon also increased its spending on lobbying, shelling out $12.8 million last year vs. $11 million in 2016. Apple raised its lobbying spending to $7.1 million, from $4.6 million the previous year. Netflix spent the same amount — $800,000 — in both years.

AT&T, which is in the midst of a court battle with the Justice Department over its plans to merge with Time Warner, spent $16.8 million on lobbying, a slight increase from $16.4 million in 2016.

Among media companies, Comcast boosted its spending, to $15.32 million, from $14.31 a year earlier, with issues like net neutrality and tax reform on the top of the agenda.

But other media companies’ lobbying spending was flat or even decreased. One of the bigger recent policy debates took place in 2016, when the FCC proposed a new rule that would have “opened up” the cable set-top box, allowing manufacturers to create their own for sale to the consumer. Studios and cable companies fought the idea, and pressed members of Congress to try to stop it. The proposal ultimately was sidelined.

CBS: $4.5 million, unchanged from a year earlier.

Viacom: $4.1 million, from $4 million a year earlier.

21st Century Fox: $3.5 million, from $5.3 million a year earlier.

Walt Disney Co.: $3.2 million, from $4.2 million a year earlier.

Time Warner: $2.93 million, from $2.84 a year earlier.

iHeartMedia: $4.7 million, from $4.4 million a year earlier.

Among media trade associations, the National Association of Broadcasters was the largest spender, shelling out $15.6 million in 2017, compared to $16.3 million a year earlier.

Other trade groups:

NCTA – The Internet & Television Association: $12.8 million in 2017, compared to $13.3 million in 2016.

The Recording Industry Association of America: $4.8 million, compared to $4.4 million a year earlier.

MPAA: $2.5 million, compared to $2.6 million a year earlier.

More Politics

  • Kamala Harris

    Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Face Rematch in Next Democratic Debate

    Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris will have the opportunity to square off again in the second debate among Democratic hopefuls vying for their party’s nomination in the 2020 presidential election CNN, which will broadcast the next round of debates on July 30 and 31, televised a draw Thursday night that decided [...]

  • Jennifer Aniston and Tig Notaro Donate

    Jennifer Aniston and Tig Notaro Join Hollywood's Buttigieg Bandwagon

    Pete Buttigieg has built a devoted following in Hollywood over the last few months, helping him lead the Democratic field in fundraising for the second quarter. In a filing released Monday night, Buttigieg disclosed contributions from a bunch of bold-faced names, including Jennifer Aniston, Tig Notaro and Larry David. Buttigieg held numerous fundraisers in the [...]

  • Mary Bailey Steve D'Angelo, Jim Belushi

    Cannabis Industry Tackles Justice Reform With 'Last Prisoner Project'

    Jim Belushi is standing two feet away in the backyard of his spacious Brentwood home, honking a harp like he’s a Blues Brother back in sweet home Chicago accompanied by noted reggae band Rebelution’s Eric Rachmany and Kyle Ahern, who provide a 12-bar shuffle. There’s the sweet smell of skunk — and success — hanging [...]

  • Jeffrey Epstein

    Jeffrey Epstein Bail Decision Delayed, More Accusers Coming Forward

    Jeffrey Epstein won’t find out if he’s going to be released on bail until July 18, even as prosecutors argued that the multimillionaire businessman presents a flight risk and could endanger his accusers unless he remains in jail. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Monday, Epstein’s legal team said their client is willing [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    FTC Approves $5 Billion Fine Against Facebook for Privacy Violations

    The Federal Trade Commission voted to fine Facebook around $5 billion for violations of the FTC’s consumer-privacy rules, according to multiple media reports — the biggest privacy-related fine in the commission’s history. The $5 billion figure may be a record-breaker, but it represents less than Facebook reported in net profit ($5.43 billion) for the first [...]

  • United States Secretary of Labor Alexander

    Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta Resigning Amid Epstein Controversy

    Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has tendered his resignation to President Trump after facing criticism for a plea deal he struck with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 after Epstein was charged with luring teenage girls to his mansion for sex. According to the Los Angeles Times, Trump made the announcement Friday, telling reporters that Acosta [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content