AAAA Dithers Over US Media Regulation

15 January 2003

The American Association of Advertising Agencies remains uncertain over whether to get embroiled in an issue which some claim could have a major impact on the ad market: the relaxation of media ownership laws.

The Federal Communications Commission is asking for comments on its proposals to allow greater consolidation, but the 4As has not yet decided whether to get involved.

It was thought last month that the agency body had hired the Information Policy Institute to work with the Consumers Federation of America, the Consumers Union and some media firms in gathering data and lobbying against the proposals.

However, 4As evp Richard O’Brien has revealed that the group wants to study more information before committing itself to the debate.

The consumer groups and several large media companies have shown no such procrastination, filing comments with the FCC last week.

“Concentration has a negative effect on diversity of advertising, programming choices and presentation of political outlets,” the consumer bodies told the FCC.

Echoing arguments made to the regulator by media buyers last summer, they denied claims by big media owners that consolidation in one media sector (e.g. television) is acceptable as other media outlets (e.g. radio, the internet, the press) preserve competition.

The consumer groups also took a swipe at advertising, arguing that the media’s dependence on the ad dollar restricts diversity of content and discourages programming targeted at minorities.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff