FCC approves new ownership rules, ATSC 3.0

FCC In the News Legal & Legislative Issues

The FCC on Thursday approved new ownership rules that would allow companies to own a television station and newspaper or television station and radio station in the same market.

The rule would also allow the FCC to waive on a case-by-case basis a ban on owning two of the top television stations in the same market. The order says the rules “is no longer necessary to promote viewpoint diversity in the modern media marketplace.” A release from the FCC said, “These actions will provide broadcasters and local newspapers with a greater opportunity to compete in the digital age and will help ensure a diversity of viewpoints in local markets.”

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said the change will help large media companies grow even larger.

NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said, “These rules are not only irrational in today’s media environment, but they have also weakened the newspaper industry, cost journalism jobs and forced local broadcast stations onto unequal footing with our national pay-TV and radio competitors.”

Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve the new rules.

The FCC also approved a new technical standard, ATSC 3.0 that will allow broadcasters to use new technology to offer video on demand, provide 4K video, and offer other interactive services.

A release from the FCC said, “The Next Generation TV standard will let broadcasters provide consumers with more vivid pictures and sound, including Ultra High Definition television and superior reception, mobile viewing capabilities, advanced emergency alerts, better accessibility features, localized content, and interactive educational children’s content.”

Smith said, “This is game-changing technology for broadcasting and our viewers, and we thank the visionary leadership of FCC chairman Pai and his colleagues for their support.”

The new standard was approved by a 3-2 vote.