FCC Revises Ancillary Service Filing Rules

WASHINGTON—The FCC last week revised its annual filing rules to relieve certain television broadcasters of their obligation to submit Schedule G, which details how they use their DTV bitstreams.

In a Report and Order released April 13, the commission modified its rules to require only licensees and permittees that provide “feeable” ancillary or supplementary services—and thus must pay a 5 percent fee on gross revenues earned from those services—to file Schedule G.

Prior to the rule change, all DTV stations offering ancillary or supplementary services were required every year to file, regardless of whether they earned revenue from the services or not.

[Read: FCC Waives Ancillary/Supplementary Service Reports]

A review of 2017 Schedule G filings conducted by Media Bureau staff found that of the more than 6,000 DTV stations required to file Schedule G prior to the rule change only 12 actually earned revenue from their ancillary or supplementary services.

Parties replying to a public notice launching an FCC review of media regulations last spring urged the agency to change the rule as part of its Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative, the Report and Order said.

“We find persuasive commenters’ unanimous assertions that requiring all DTV stations to file this form, regardless of whether they have provided ancillary or supplementary services or received revenue from those services, imposes unnecessary regulatory burdens and wastes resources,” the agency said in its Report and Order.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.