The UHF Discount Reinstated by the FCC
In a 2-1 vote on Thursday morning, the FCC moved to reinstate the UHF discount restoring the 50% discount on the coverage of UHF stations in calculating groups’ coverage. This means you’ll probably see a lot more consolidation of media companies.
With the discount, a group can now blow past the nominal 39% cap and reach as many as 78% of TV homes.The FCC also said it will launch a rulemaking later this year to look at the national ownership cap in its entirely and consider raising the cap with or without the discount.
“NAB supports today’s FCC action reinstating the UHF TV station ownership discount and commends Chairman Pai for his leadership on this issue,” National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith said. “This represents a rational first step in media ownership reform policy allowing free and local broadcasters to remain competitive with multi-national pay TV giants and broadband providers.”
The dissenting vote, Mingon Clyburn, felt this move was “‘snatched from a regulatory crypt’ due to a willingness to ignore the realities of the marketplace. She said the FCC is firmly embracing the past and reinstating a relic for the benefit of a few media companies”, according to Broadcasting and Cable.