A patina of reasonableness

With the Federal Communications Commissions in the midst of considering changes to media ownership rules (and a public hearing on that topic coming to Oakland Friday evening) I wanted to understand what was on Mass Media’s mind. Toward that end I came across an article in Hollywood Reporter that said, in essence, that new media, like GoogTube represent the sort of challenge to incumbent, broadcast media that demand a relaxation of curent ownership rules. The HWR excerpted a quote from the CBS filing with the FCC:

“Four years ago, when the FCC last reviewed its broadcast-ownership rules, the YouTube.com domain name had not even been registered, the first Windows version of the audio iPod was just rolling out, Google was only a search engine, cable companies sold primarily video packages, and telephone companies sold primarily voice service.”

Obviously, much has changed and broadcast media want the FCC to give them a freer hand — in terms of local cross-ownership, i.e. owning newspapers or other media in the same geography — to compete with these aggressive new technologies.

I think that these are specious reasons to ask for rule changes that would allow already-powerful broadcasters to increase their ability to acquire other properties. And tommorow I will think out loud on that angle.

For now I want to suggest to other critics of further media consolidation should understand that, from where the FCC sits, it makes sense to listen to a powerful constituency that makes plausible arguments — and therefore that the most persuasive critique will take these into account. Give me a day to collect some thoughts on this score.

Moms with money may be shifting their attention to the Web. That is the suggestion of a Center for Media Research brief that summarizes research by The Media Audit. As a general rule, women are the most sought-after advertising audiene because they make so many puchase decisions. Here’s a quote that sugests the magnitude and direction of the trend:

“The percentage of working women that spent at least 430 minutes a week on the Internet (heavy users) jumped from 48.6 percent in 2004 to 50.8 percent in 2005 … Heavy use of radio, television, newspapers and direct mail all declined within this group. The collective Internet changes for this group are significant, and other media is… paying the price.”

Face lift? MediaPost reports that Google has created a “website optimizer” that:

“allows site owners to test different headlines, copy and images on sites to evaluate which combinations give the most conversions as represented by sales, signups or other actions.”

Searchviews.com reviewed the new tool and provided details in a separate posting that includes this caveat:

“while the Optimizer tool may be helpful to small and medium sized businesses, it could potentially create a roadblock for large companies” (by giving Google too much information about the site).