10.30.2006 09:00 AM
Disney bucks corporate trend on ownership

Most media moguls want to own more media outlets; however, in a surprise to some, Walt Disney Company last week asked the FCC to leave current media ownership rules just as they are.

Disney’s comments to the FCC could mean that chairman Robert Iger’s, a former top executive at the ABC television network, interest in the traditional TV business is cooling.

“Given the increase and attractiveness of new media outlets, in Disney’s view, the commission may soon find itself considering ways to incent, rather than restrict, ownership of over-the-air broadcast stations,” the company told the FCC in its filing.

Disney’s recent strategy has been to move away from traditional media outlets toward alternative digital media delivery. There have been reports that the company may create its own streaming video service on the Internet.

Disney’s position shouldn’t be much of a surprise, Mark Fratrik, vice president for BIA Financial Network, told Media Daily News. The company hasn’t bought a TV station in a decade. With only 10 owned stations, Disney is below 24 percent of U.S. TV households, which is well below the 39 percent allowed by current FCC regulations.

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