Bilirakis, Clarke, Steube, and Panetta Bill to Boost Competition in Media

There's pending bipartisan legislation to enhance opportunities for new and independent voices and competition in media. Learn more.
Legislative bill

 Washington D.C. – Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Greg Steube (R-FL), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) have filed the Independent Programmers Tax Incentive Act (IPTIA), bipartisan legislation to enhance opportunities for new and independent voices in media. While the global video market is on track to be valued at $1 trillion or more by 2030, this growth has not been spread evenly to all programming creators. This growth has led to a consolidation that is allowing traditional media and new online media to control the lion’s share of the content being created and seen by the consumer. The concentration of media ownership reduces the diversity of viewpoints, limits consumer choice, and creates the potential for biased coverage based on real or perceived conflicts of interest. The goal of this bipartisan bill is to create a market-based incentive program to allow more small and independent programmers to have an opportunity for their content to be seen. Specifically, IPTIA will create an investment tax credit for the carriage of independent programmers by qualified multichannel video programming distributors.

Independent media ownership offers American TV viewers different viewpoints and ensures robust competition,” said Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). This legislation levels the playing field and opens the door for independent entities to compete and thrive in the Pay TV industry.”  

“We all know emphasizing diversity can create new opportunities, more competition, and level the playing field for independent programmers in the pay-TV business, including on OTT platforms, such as YouTube TV, Hulu, and Sling. This legislation will create a tax credit to incentivize carriage of more diverse TV programming, and I look forward to seeing this bipartisan legislation becoming law and improving opportunities for all voices to have a chance to be heard,” said Rep. Yvette Clarke.

 “I’m pleased to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that will give the American people access to a greater variety of new content providers by incentivizing more competition in an industry dominated by a handful of large media companies,” said Rep. Greg Steube.

Pay TV has a great history of creating opportunities for diversity in media, but the changing nature of the TV business has excluded new entrants in programming. Rather than change the entire industry, the (IPTIA) encourages Pay TV distributors to open up their channel lineups and platforms to competition, new ideas, and independent entrepreneurs, which will, in turn, help nurture a vibrant, competitive Pay TV industry,” said Augusto Valdez, CEO of Kids Street. “We urge Congress to pass this legislation.”

This legislation is a win-win-win. It is a win for consumers who will have access to more diverse voices on their cable systems, it is a win for independent programmers who will gain more access to subscribers, and it is a win for MVPDs and vMVPDs that will be able to offset ever-increasing costs with a new tax credit when they choose to carry independent voices,” said Chris Ruddy, CEO of NewsMax.

This legislation offers a lifeline to independent media ownership, bringing diverse viewpoints and robust competition to American TV viewers. It will create an opportunity to level the playing field, enabling independent entities to not just survive but thrive in the competitive Pay TV industry. We endorse this legislation as a vital catalyst for opening doors, embracing innovation, and allowing independent entrepreneurs to participate, ultimately nurturing a vibrant and competitive Pay TV landscape,” expressed Eligio Cedeno, CEO of VMe Media Inc.

At Comercio, our mission has always been to bridge the information gap for Spanish-speaking audiences, offering them the in-depth financial content they deserve. The ‘Independent Programming Tax Credit Legislation’ aligns seamlessly with our vision. It serves as a catalyst, empowering networks like ours to thrive amidst the vast conglomerates dominating the industry. This legislation doesn’t just bolster independent creators—it reinforces diverse, culturally rich voices, vital for a comprehensive media ecosystem. By championing this bill, we’re advocating for a richer tapestry of content aligned with jobs, innovation, and the voices of communities like ours that deserve representation. Comercio wholeheartedly stands behind this transformative initiative,” expressed Freddy Arias, President of Comercio Networks.

Providing tax credits for carriage of independent programmers is essential in creating parity for women over the age of 50 on-screen (20% of the population but only 8% of actors on screen) and reaching the massive audience of women over 50, some 63 million underserved by current television networks. Prime Women intends to super-serve these women with programming created by and for women over 50,” said Dorthy Shore, CEO of Prime Women.

“EarthxTV is a global television network that spotlights our planet and is dedicated to providing original and acquired shows that explore a wide range of nonpartisan topics, including wildlife, conservation, agriculture, extreme weather, and innovative technologies, among others. The Independent Programming Tax Credit legislation will create an opportunity for growth for our network and other independent channels”, said Rajan Singh, CEO of EarthX.

A large group of bi-partisan lawmakers has already co-sponsored this important legislation, including Representatives Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), Carol Miller (R- WV), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Darren Soto (D-FL), and David Valadao (R-CA).

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