FCC Releases Three More Media Ownership Studies
July 22, 2011 at 3:56 AM (PT)
The FCC has released three more of the ownership studies it commissioned as part of its quadrennial review of the rules.
The three studies include a study on the correlation between local media ownership and "media quality" by MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY professor ADAM D. RENHOFF and DUKE UNIVERSITY professor KENNETH C. WILBUR, which concludes, "Scant evidence is found to indicate that local media ownership affects local media usage or programming.... It seems possible that allowing mergers between newspapers and television stations could lead to substantial economies of scope and may improve product offerings by enabling cross- media promotions and integrated delivery."
Another study, on local information programming's relationship to the structure of television markets by FCC analyst JACK ERB found that "commercial television stations that are cross-owned with major newspapers in the same market tend to air more local news programming, but that the station-level increase does not translate into more local news programming at the market level. Television-radio cross-ownership has a moderate (but statistically significant) positive impact on local information programming at the station level, and each additional in-market radio station controlled by the television station owner corresponds to additional local news minutes aired by the television station. However, local news programming at the market level is likely to be lower, as the scale economies enjoyed by the cross-owned stations are outweighed by the crowding out of local news programming on other stations. Multiple ownership (i.e., situations in which a single parent controls two or more stations in the same market) does not appear to impact the amount of local information programming at either the market or station level (though this result appears somewhat dependent upon model specification)."
And a study by FCC economist ANDREW S. WISE on how the ownership rules affect innovation, particularly digital TV multicasting, found "little to no effect" and noted that implementation of multicasting is "driven by the number of stations, particularly the number of commercial television stations and PBS stations, and is affected to some extent by the size of the market and competition from multichannel video providers."