Mergers and acquisitions has to become the name of the game in the space. U.S. regulators -- not much else --stand in the way of content owners and network providers making the logical choice by consolidating. That might be an impossible hurdle to overcome.
Precedent, however, does exist. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission, over the course of the last 15 to 20 years, not only permitted but facilitated and encouraged a massive amount of consolidation in the radio business. It relaxed ownership limits -- with the full support of then President Clinton -- and approved mega-mergers left and right.
These decisions left radio listeners with an inferior, cookie-cutter product dominated by fewer than a handful of companies. Interestingly, the weak regulation rendered broadcast radio irrelevant, relative to new media, particularly Internet radio. Radio companies effectively stopped competing against one another, failing to react, until recently, to new and innovative threats.
The Feds would have none of it.
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