The FCC late yesterday released full texts of the decisions adopted last week to revise the broadcast ownership rules and approve the next generation television standard (ATSC 3.0). We summarized last week’s decisions, based on the press releases released after the meetings, in our article here. The full text of the ownership decision, available here, granted reconsideration of last year’s decision on the 2014 Quadrennial Review of the FCC’s rules setting out the local ownership restrictions on media companies. The full decision sets out the Commission’s reasoning for, among other things, revisiting last year’s decision by deciding to abolish the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules and the radio-TV cross-ownership rules, and by loosening the restrictions on the markets where television stations can be co-owned. We can expect court challenges to this decision, and the matter may end up back before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Order approving the use of ATSC 3.0 as the next generation television transmission standard, available here, details the process for stations to voluntarily convert to the new standard while requiring that, through a form of channel sharing, they provide their primary video programming stream in the current transmission standard (ATSC 1.0) on another station in their market so that they can continue to provide service to their viewers who have not yet converted their televisions to make them capable of receiving transmissions in the new 3.0 standard.
Over the long holiday weekend, while digesting our Thanksgiving dinner, we will try to digest these orders as well to provide a more complete summary next week.