Sunday, May 7, 2017

Last Call For The Big Turnoff

By the time the Trump regime's reign is over, the resulting damage to our media integrity will be overwhelming, and will take decades to fix at best.  Even though we're only 100 days and change in, the mass consolidation of news outlets that slowed under Obama's FCC has now been fast-tracked under Trump FCC chief Ajit Pai and the industry is now heading steadily for virtual monopoly.

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc (SBGI.O) is nearing a deal to acquire Tribune Media Co (TRCO.N) for close to $4 billion after prevailing in an auction for one of the largest U.S. television station operators, according to people familiar with the matter.

A potential deal for Tribune comes just weeks after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to reverse a 2016 decision that limits the number of television stations some broadcasters can buy.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, named by President Donald Trump in January, is planning to take a new look at the current overall limit on companies owning stations serving no more than 39 percent of U.S. television households.

Sinclair's deal for Tribune Media also represents a blow to Rupert Murdoch's ambitions to expand Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's (FOXA.O) broadcast assets.

Fox Networks Group chairman Peter Rice confirmed at the Milken Institute Global Conference last week that Fox was looking to buy Tribune Media because "having more scale and more control of distribution is important."

We're already down to a handful of media giants, Comcast, Viacom, Disney, News Corp, and Time Warner in who produces and distributes news in the US.  With the FCC reversing both limits on broadcast station ownership and net neutrality, deals where the companies that are left must band together in consolidation is now happening quickly.

None of this will be good for the American consumer or for what's left of our democracy.

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