Video Marketplace Regulation: A Primer on the History of Television Regulation and Current Legislative Proposals

21 Pages Posted: 3 May 2014  

Adam D. Thierer

George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Brent Skorup

George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Date Written: April 29, 2014

Abstract

The television distribution marketplace has been substantially regulated since the advent of broadcast television in the 1940s and 1950s. The Federal Communications Commission and Congress have relied on several justifications for the regulatory protection of the system of local broadcasters envisioned post-World War II, namely, (1) universal service; (2) localism; (3) free television; and (4) competition. These policy goals are at odds with one another and can only be supported simultaneously through far-reaching regulations like compulsory copyright licenses, network nonduplication rules, retransmission consent regulations, and industry concentration prohibitions. We describe the history of these and other regulations. We argue that regulatory repeal would improve distorted television markets and improve consumer welfare. Finally, we describe pending video legislation and explain how various pending bills would affect the current regulatory system.

Keywords: television, FCC, policy, telecommunications, retransmission consent, cable, broadcast, satellite, compulsory license, copyright

JEL Classification: L51, L52

Suggested Citation

Thierer, Adam D. and Skorup, Brent, Video Marketplace Regulation: A Primer on the History of Television Regulation and Current Legislative Proposals (April 29, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2432177 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2432177

Adam D. Thierer

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3351 Fairfax Drive
4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201-4433
United States

Brent Skorup (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Boulevard
Fourth Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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