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Feuding Trade Organizations


Your blogger was downtown in DC yesterday and pickup a copy of Politico, a giveaway political newspaper for those interested in Capitol Hill issues. The above two items come from ads in the 7/23 issue from the American Television Alliance (ATVA) and NAB in anticipation of a Senate hearing today on “The Cable Act at 20”.

ATVA describes itself as “ an unprecedented coalition of consumer groups, cable, satellite, telephone companies and independent programmers to raise awareness about the risk viewers face as broadcasters increasingly threaten service disruptions that would deny viewers access to the programs they and their families enjoy.” While cable companies, DBS providers and telcos are well represented, there aren’t many consumer groups in their list of members. NAB has created a corresponding website, keepmytv.org/, without creating a corresponding sham organization. keepmytv.org claims it “is dedicated to empowering viewers to have the best options for their local news, entertainment and community programming.”

I assume that most consumers know that neither NAB nor the ATVA members are really interested in them for other than being pawns in their battles.

NAB’s site says “Broadcast television is the most popular around, and we plan to stay that way.” Perhaps NAB didn’t notice the Emmy nominations for this year:

Drama Series
“Boardwalk Empire" (HBO)
"Breaking Bad" (AMC)
"Downton Abbey" (PBS)
"Game of Thrones" (HBO)
"Homeland" (Showtime)
"Mad Men" (AMC)

Comedy Series
“The Big Bang Theory" (CBS)
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO)
"Girls" (HBO)
"Modern Family" (ABC)
"30 Rock" (NBC)
"Veep" (HBO)

Thus 8 out of 12 Emmy nominations to top series this year went to nonbroadcast non networks! (We counted the PBS nomination as a broadcast network.) The networks as a group are as good as HBO in getting comedy nominations, but got skunked on drama nominations! Indeed, HBO got 5 of the 12 nominations while the commercial networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) only got one each. Perhaps it is appropriate that 30 Rock, which ridicules network management and NBC’s acquisition by “Kabletown”, is one of the few network shows to make the list. Perhaps 30 Rock should talk about NAB also and keep up the discussion about “Kabletown”?


But the main point here is the degree to which powerful trade associations are using PR campaigns to try to frame their goals, rather than focusing on the public interest.

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