I just finished reading Commissioner Mignon Clyburn’s statement on the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed rule making for media ownership. Ms. Clyburn expressed that she felt “hope, fear, frustration, expectation, and exasperation” regarding the tasks of pursuing diversity in media ownership while ensuring that the information market spoke to the needs of the information consumer.
The conflicting emotions are understandable when you see that the FCC must address not one, but two information related markets at the same time. One I term as the “media market.” In this market buyers and sellers of media platforms such as radio, television, newspapers, and online media properties meet and exchange these properties for a price.
The second market is the “information market.” This is where the news watchers and readers come and consume content in exchange for paying subscription fees or at least clicking on ads.
It’s probably best that the FCC delineate the two markets, at least for the purpose of coming up with actions to address each one. Both are related which drives the confusion. The player that connects the two markets is the buyer of media platforms. Once the buyer enters the media market and negotiates the purchase of radio and television stations, they are in a position to add to the diversity of viewpoints the FCC wants to promote.
The buyers enter the media market in response to final demand from consumers in the information market. It’s a chain derivative that requires you complete the work on one relationship before moving to the next. That approach should help alleviate the frustration.