Stakeholders Seen Wading into STELA Debate, More Hill Work Unlikely Until 2019
It’s striking NAB and SBCA frame their arguments from a deregulatory angle despite being on opposite ends of the STELA debate, said R Street Institute Technology Policy Manager Tom Struble. “Both sides seem to be speaking the right language,” he said. Some revamp of the existing rules appears possible based on that deregulatory stance, “but it’s far too early for me to say what the most likely” solution is.
“If we were to just authorize STELA again,” that would extend the statute through the end of 2024, “basically kicking the can past the next presidential election, and [the law] is already showing its strain,” Struble said. Two media lobbyists whose clients support STELA believe Congress will renew the statute after thorough review.
Other “players in the ecosystem” also need to engage in the STELA debate, Struble said. “I would be very curious to hear what some of the nonbroadcaster programmers, the content distributors and non-satellite MVPDs, have to say. I would hope they all favor some sort of reform.” Struble and lobbyists want to hear from tech sector over-the-top providers like Google and Facebook, whose role in the media market has changed dramatically since the last STELA debate.