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Weekly News From the President: Net Neutrality Vote by FCC – Thursday’s Child

Thursday’s Child

Thursday was a crappy news day if you like independent and local media.
If you own Disney or Fox stock, are a telecom investor or cable operator, or own lots of broadcast licenses, you probably don’t share that opinion.

In one single day, the FCC vacated its Open Internet rules and threatened states and cities that they would preempt efforts to enforce net freedom locally. The Commission also said it would examine its broadcast ownership caps to speed media consolidation. Disney announced it would acquire 20th Century Fox’s entertainment divisions. Lastly, T-Mobile said it would try to purchase the start-up virtual MVPD Layer 3 in order to start selling video services across the U.S.

What will all these actions mean for local communities? Well, it’s hard to see how any of them will result in MORE local content. If anything, they will all accelerate the tendency of consolidated media to seek efficiencies of scale to increase profits and dividends. The more content can be leveraged to reach more audiences, the more value can be derived from sunk costs.

And local audiences see less and less local content.

It’s also fair to say the Disney and T-Mobile moves will bring about national program delivery platforms in the next 18 months. And this will increase pressure on cable operators to keep audience if they can – which cannot mean good things for local communities.

Like Thursday’s Child, localism has a long way to go.

As for the Net Neutrality Order, expect lawsuits aplenty in the coming days as state and local governments, public interest groups and content companies object to the FCC’s attempt to “Restore Internet Freedom.”

We still think it’s worth your while to keep your viewers informed about the issue, and let your Congress members know the issue affects your community.

Local Media Resource from Next System Media

Even though the report has been out for a month or so, I want to make sure you know about Laura Flanders’ and the Democracy Collaborative’s new study on building new media systems to meet community needs.

Next System Media: An Urgent Necessity puts PEG and community media at the heart of the fight for responsive “small d” democratic media in America by profiling the work of a number of members. And it outlines the future fights for resources and possible solutions to support localism.

It’s worth the read, and should be used to talk about the value of the work you do every day.

Mike Wassenaar
President & CEO
The Alliance for Community Media