Cable Cord-Cutting Continues
On July-27 Alan Earls penned an insightful report in The Franklin Observer about cord-cutting and the state’s legislative efforts to ensure the viability of local media studios like Franklin●TV.
As subscribers cancel their cable subscriptions, we see our revenues drop off. Currently, Franklin.TV has seen a 15% drop in revenue over the last 5 years. We also must contend with all the same inflationary costs that everyone faces.
Crafting such legislation is a Solomonic task. The Massachusetts House and Senate have bills currently being considered on Beacon Hill. The “Act to Modernize Funding for Community Media Programming” has a version in the House, H.74. A similar measure, S.34, is moving in the Senate. The bills seek to ensure that streaming services (Netflix, Apple+, Prime, Paramount, et al) meet the same financial obligation to support local media that the cable companies (Comcast, Verizon) currently do.
Per State Rep. Jeff Roy, H. 74, “is a bill that is worth considering as it would bolster accessibility, civic engagement, and transparency of government operations,”. At a time of dwindling newspaper coverage, this legislation would help municipal TV studios to continue covering and broadcasting matters of great interest to citizens. “It would simply replace the current fees on cable companies and requiring streaming services to step up to the plate,” he continued. “I look forward to reviewing the committee’s report on the proposal,” he added.
The City of Chicago successfully enacted similar legislation 5 years ago in an effort to keep pace with changing times and technology.
We applaud the work of the Massachusetts Telecom Committee, the House and Senate and their efforts to timely and reasonably address the needs of local media centers. Without this legislation, smaller communities are at risk of seeing their local PEG media services merge into regional centers (less local) or vanish entirely.
And – as always –
Thank you for listening to wfpr●fm.
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