Thierer Testifies Before House Communications and Internet Subcommittee
WASHINGTON D.C. - Experimentation with business models should be permitted in the media marketplace if Congress is concerned about the future of traditional media, stated PFF President Adam Thierer in testimony presented today before the U.S. House Communications and Internet Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Thierer explained that most concerns over the proposed Comcast - NBC Universal deal have been overstated and that Congress should allow regulatory flexibility to permit firms to compete in a rapidly changing media market.
In his testimony, Thierer explained that concerns about recent media mergers have been greatly overstated since most have failed, yet the media marketplace remains vibrantly competitive and innovative. However, while some mergers were unsuccessful, others "have found ways to make deals work and deliver important new services that previously were unimaginable or simply too expensive to offer alone," Thierer argued.
With so many alternatives available to consumers, concerns that the merged firms will act as a "gatekeeper" over video content are also largely unfounded. And a Comcast-NBCU marriage will not greatly effect vertical integration in the cable market, Thierer said, since the vast majority of cable channels will remain independently owned and operated. "In sum," Thierer explained, "there has never been so much competition for our eyes and ears, and audiences and advertising dollars have become increasingly fragmented as a result."
Thierer also suggested that such mergers may be one way for traditional broadcast media operators to compete in the evolving media marketplace. "Although there are no guarantees, creator/distributor alliances like Comcast-NBC may be one model that helps firms create, extend and then also monetize their media content," Thierer concluded. "But, again, regulatory flexibility is crucial so we can figure out what works and what doesn't."
Thierer's testimony is available on the PFF website.
Thierer is also the author of three books on media policy: Media Myths: Making Sense of the Debate over Media Ownership, Media Metrics: The True State of the Modern Media Marketplace, and A Manifesto for Media Freedom (with Brian Anderson).
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.