FCC Looks to Loosen Media-Ownership Rules

The FCC has recently agreed to move forward with its proposal to ease media cross-ownership rules that restricts companies from owning a TV station and a newspaper in the same top 20 U.S. media markets.

News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) and Tribune Co. look to benefit from rule changes as they own TV stations and newspapers in large markets and operate them under waivers of the cross-ownership ban.

According to the Wall Street Journal, since 2007, the agency has been trying to abolish the 35-year-old ban, but public interest groups have stood in the way. In July, a federal appeals court threw out the proposed rule change, saying that the FCC hadn’t allowed enough time for public comments.

Last week, the FCC moved forward with a proposed rule change that includes a 45-day public comment period. The agency still wants to limit the number of TV or radio stations that one company can own in a local market.

The final vote for the rule change probably won’t come until at least April, said the Journal.

Other media stocks affected by the rule changes include: The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX), The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), CBS Corporation (NYSE:CBS), The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP), Journal Communications, Inc. (NYSE:JRN), and Pearson PLC (NYSE:PSO).

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