Everyone has seen the TV ads from both the phone and cable lobby urging Congress to support their plans to control the future of the broadband Internet in the U.S. Companies such as Qwest, Comcast, Time Warner, and AT&T want to be broadband baronsâ€”with all other content providers and users reduced to serving as merely consuming digital surfs.
How much is the PR blitz costing? Well, intrepid media consultant Gary Arlen of Arlen Communications has done the math. â€œAbout 975K is being spent on Washington-area media buying,â€ he told us. That sum is mostly for local broadcast TV expenditures. According to Mr. Arlen, the U.S. Telecom Association has been spending $250 K/week (and so far has run-up a six-week $1.5 million ad tab). AT&T is forking out $600K per week (for its “Choice” campaign). TV4US, a telco â€œAstroturfâ€ group, is spending $75k per week for at least a four-week air time buy. The NCTA, meanwhile, has gone through at least $ 1 million nationally in a year, spending 50K a week in the DC market as Congress meets. [Arlen is one of the most insightful people working in the media bizâ€”and keeps an eagle-like eye on where the business is heading.]
Of course, once Rep. Joe Barton and Sen. Ted Stevens pass legislation giving control over broadband to the countryâ€™s cable and phone giants, they will be able to give themselves preferred high-speed interactive video treatment at rock-bottom (free!) rates.
Question: With next weekâ€™s House floor vote on Barton-Rushâ€”will Microsoft, Yahoo!, Amazon, Google, eBay, and IAC spend the necessary dough to sound the alarm?