Friday, October 25, 2013

FCC Expected To Change Foreign Ownership Limits

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is considering relaxing the foreign investment limit in TV and radio stations as part of its review of broadcast ownership rules, according to Reuters.

Under the current rules, there is a 25 percent cap on any foreign investment in a U.S. broadcast holding company. The FCC will discuss the agenda at its next open meeting on November 14.

"Approval of this item will clarify the commission's intention to review, on a case-by-case basis, proposed transactions that would exceed the 25 percent benchmark that restricts foreign ownership in companies holding broadcast licenses," FCC Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said in a notification posted on the agency's website.

Mignon Clyburn
The FCC postponed its vote in February on new media-ownership rules until an outside study of an impact on minority broadcasters was complete.

On Thursday, the FCC said it will conduct a study on the Hispanic television landscape in the United States.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said he is optimistic that the agency will eliminate the foreign ownership restrictions.

In response to Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn circulating a proposal that would make it easier for broadcasters to attract foreign investors, the following statement can be attributed to NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith: 
"NAB applauds Acting FCC Chairwoman Clyburn for proposing that the Commission should consider foreign investment in U.S. broadcast properties the same way it considers such investments in other telecommunications properties. This is fundamentally fair and will serve the public interest. Permitting new potential sources of capital for American radio and TV stations will strengthen our ability to continue providing compelling news, entertainment and sports programming and to remain competitive in a multichannel digital world."

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