CBS and Infinity Broadcasting, the television and radio divisions of media group Viacom, have withdrawn from the National Association of Broadcasters over the latter’s support of a federal ownership limit on TV stations.
At issue is the law forbidding TV broadcasters from owning stations which reach over 35% of US households. Networks want to see the limit raised or removed so that they can acquire more of their local affiliates, many of which support the cap as a bulwark against network encroachment.
The NAB, whose membership and finance is dominated by the affiliates, has traditionally supported the 35% cap, much to the chagrin of networks – CBS’s withdrawal follows the departure of NewsCorp’s Fox TV and General Electric’s NBC in the last two years.
“For some time we have called for the elimination of the national broadcast-ownership cap as well as other outmoded regulatory constraints on broadcasters,” stated the Viacom-owned duo. “It has now become clear that we cannot remain within an organization that is actively working against those objectives.”
Walt Disney-owned network ABC, widely tipped to be the next departure from the NAB, announced that they had not yet decided whether to follow CBS’s example.
News source: Wall Street Journal