The push is on, and not just when it comes to new and/or acquired national media platforms, but possibly through old-fashion TV station station ownership.
In a recent FCC filing, these stations groups are now seeking a 78% cap on U.S. TV households. That's reached from the ownership of scores of TV stations by one company.
The current FCC cap on TV stations is 39% of U.S. homes. This includes UHF stations, which according to the rule, which has been revived, allows media companies to count their UHF stations at half their reach. It means allowing more TV stations deal-making overall.
No matter. TV stations say it’s a different world now, with much more competition. Things should be easier; just make overall TV station U.S. household coverage 78%.
At that level, TV stations could sell, and compete, against national TV networks/platforms (including, in theory, their own TV station affiliate network partners) for national TV advertising dollars.
In the filing, TV stations said the current rules are “arbitrary, unfair restraint on their ability to compete with increasingly national [emphasis added] and indeed global, players in the television programming industry.”
For the better part of a year or more, analysts had rumored that Sinclair, for example, wanted to start a conservative cable news network to compete with Fox News Channel.
Chris Ripley, CEO, Sinclair, quashed that speculation, citing Sinclair’s best efforts for growth came from its own local TV stations efforts. Now, that claim might have some teeth to it.
Unlike when Fox was trying to create a new broadcasting network in the late 1980s -- and needing a group of 150 to 200 or so TV stations as affiliates to gain national TV advertising -- Sinclair, and others, in a modern TV age, are in a better position. Sinclair, for example, already owns -- or operate more than 191 TV stations.
In a mostly deregulation environment, thanks to the Trump Administration, does this model have a chance to succeed?