Telco/Cable TV lobbying Blitz Costing Nearly $1 Mil Per Week in DC Market/ Big Bucks Spent to Pave Way for Broadband Monopolies

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 barons—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. “About 975K is being spent on Washington-area media buying,” 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 “Astroturf” 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 biz—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 country’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 week’s House floor vote on Barton-Rush—will Microsoft, Yahoo!, Amazon, Google, eBay, and IAC spend the necessary dough to sound the alarm?

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2 thoughts on “Telco/Cable TV lobbying Blitz Costing Nearly $1 Mil Per Week in DC Market/ Big Bucks Spent to Pave Way for Broadband Monopolies”

  1. The floor schedule released by Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) listed 11 bills for consideration this week, not including H.R. 5252, the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (COPE Act), sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas).

    The House schedule could change if House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert
    (R-Ill.) refuses to refer the COPE Act to the Judiciary Committee,
    deciding a power struggle in Barton’s favor over Judiciary chairman James
    Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.). Hastert has been known to be a favorite of SBC (now At&T) but there is intense pressure within the Republican party due to public scruitiny and criticism of the bill to “follow the rules” and refer this to the Judiciary Committee. We’ll see.

  2. With all of these companies paying so much money to sway people who know nothing about the issue, do we really want them regulating the issue? I don’t think so.

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