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Association Pans FCC’s Proposal on Market Definition Changes

The Insights Association, which represents research and analytics firms, has told the FCC it was wrong to propose changing how it determines whether a TV station is significantly viewed in a market outside its licensed market. The FCC approved the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking March 31 and initial comments are due May 14. The FCC is suggesting that actual signal strength of a station may be a better metric than audience/viewership data. The Insights Association says the FCC proposal would “abandon accurate audience measurement research in favor of engineering exercises in signal strength measurement," adding: "[T]echnical measurement of the strength of a TV station’s signal, whether at the point of broadcast or using some homes’ antennae, cannot begin to compare to scientific audience measurement because it can’t tell the FCC whether anyone actually watched the signal, even if the signal strength theoretically captures where such a signal might be capable of being viewed. ”That "significantly viewed" definition determines whether a cable or satellite operator can import the station into the market in which it is significantly viewed, even if it duplicates in-market syndicated or network programming. That importation is otherwise prohibited by the network nonduplication and syndicated exclusivity rules.

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