Public interest watchdog groups held a lobbying session at the FCC earlier this month, making a case for barring joint sales and shared services agreements in which the stations share management or in which one of the stations in the combo sells 15% or more of the advertising time of the other.
TV shared services agreements have been one of the targets of public interest groups since the start of the current Quadrennial Review of the FCC’s multiple ownership rules. There has recently been a flurry of activity, leaving the status of these deals somewhat confused under the review of the new FCC chairman.
In its new rulemaking announced yesterday, the commission proposes relaxing the newspaper-broadcast crossownership rule dropping restrictions on common ownership of TV and radio stations in all markets.But it also wants to leave the duopoly rule in place and study whether shared services and local news service agreements should count toward ownership under the rule.
The cable trade association says consumers typically pay higher retransmission consent fees while receiving diminished local news services under such deals.