Thursday, June 22, 2006

US kicks off the process toward cross media ownership

The US Federal Communications Commission has just launched what is expected to be a fierce battle over whether to relax media ownership restrictions on television, radio and newspapers, a move that could spark consolidation in the industry.

A top priority of Republican FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's agenda has been to allow a company to own a newspaper and a radio or television station that serve the same market and he repeated his desire to revamp the 1975 ban preventing such cross-ownership.

The UK put such cross-media ownership rules in place a couple of years ago and it has sparked consolidation in the sector, but ultimately I believe it has been good for the market and cross-media convergence is becoming ever more important in the digital age.

It makes no sense to ban it any longer and in anycase, how can physical media companies effectively compete against the cross-media Internet powerhouses such as Google, Yahoo and MySpace if they are not allowed to cross the media divide?

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