The Federal Communications Commission’s long-standing ban on mergers among the Big 4 broadcast television networks — ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox — may be going away.
Reuters reports that the agency voted today to open a new review of U.S. media ownership rules and take comments on whether the government should end its prohibition on the mergers.
The report notes that the FCC asked whether the rule “remains necessary to promote competition, localism, or viewpoint diversity.”
“FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the commission is ‘teeing up a number of questions’ and keeping an open mind on whether the rules still make sense,” the story reports. “The FCC noted that a version of the rule barring dual ownership of networks has existed since the 1940s and asks if U.S. antitrust laws or other policies would ‘serve as a sufficient backstop to prevent undue consolidation between or among the Big Four networks.’”
The FCC is reportedly also seeking comments on a rule barring one company from owning two TV stations in the same market except under certain circumstances.