Friday, January 28, 2005

Indecency and monopoly

So Congress and Senate just can't get enough of indecency regulation. Yet while they are having another go at raising indecency fines on terrestrial broadcasters (including a bill by Rep. Fred Upton that would permit the FCC to revoke a station license after three violations), somebody should point out that a whole new media monopoly might be on the cards. The Benton Foundation and point to a New York Post report that satellite radio rivals Sirius and XM have been meeting lately to discuss the possibility of a merger." Says radioink: "Sources say the executives have not yet discussed price. They have, however, been weighing any potential antitrust concerns that would arise from a deal, which would create a monopoly in the nascent satellite radio business." It goes on:

    The satellite radio industry is currently a FCC-licensed duopoly, and both XM and Sirius are hoping they can convince the agency to redefine the market to include all content over wireless broadband services. A merger between XM and Sirius — neither of which is yet profitable — would alleviate a price war for premium content and allow the two companies to save significant amounts of money on marketing costs.

Oh yes, and Sirius is trying to crawl out of that $500 million hole it dug for itself by signing Howard Stern for five years. What, too much too soon, Sirius? And Stern, remember, is running to lightly regulated satellite radio because he's being hammered for the "indecent" content on his terrestrial shows while at Viacom.

So anyway, industry monopoly, anyone? Maybe something real for Congress to get their regulatory teeth into, no?


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