FCC Chairman Wheeler: Focus on “New Network Realities” – Stats and Studies, 1/21/2014

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler suggested that an open Internet, not broadcasting distribution, is more important to media opportunities and diversity. At the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Media and Social Justice Conference, Wheeler discussed potential ways to revamp the FCC’s Open Internet order, struck down last week by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, before diving into diversity issues. While he said that it was “outrageous” that there is “no minority ownership of television stations in America,” he also said that the focus should be on “new network realities” and the potential for Internet distribution mediums to become highly controlled.

The U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia has stayed portions of the Federal Communications Commission’s order that sets maximum rates for phone calls by prisoners. Securus Technologies challenged the rates of 25 cents per minute for debit calling and 21 cents per minute for collect calls, claiming the lower rates would cut off money used by prisons for victims’ assistance and could weaken security.

An upcoming TV ad buy will tout the dangers of smoking – and the messages will come from Big Tobacco itself. CBS, ABC and NBC are set to be part of the “remedial” advertising campaign by tobacco companies, part of Big Tobacco’s 2006 settlement regarding the omission of health warnings in prior cigarette ads. African Americans suffer disproportionately from smoking-related illnesses, particularly African American men.

This year’s update of San Diego State University’s Celluloid Ceiling study of women in television and film finds that, while women are making modest gains in behind-the-scenes TV jobs, the picture is bleaker for those working in movies. From 2012 to 2013, women made up 28 percent of creators, producers, directors, writers, editors and directors of photography on broadcast programs, an increase of two percentage points from the previous year and tied for the historical high. But women only made up 16 percent of those same positions for the top 250 grossing films in 2013. Further, 36 percent of films employed zero or one woman in the jobs surveyed, while only two percent employed 10 to 13 women in those capacities.

A National Bureau of Economic Research study finds that the MTV reality series 16 and Pregnant and its Teen Mom spinoffs led to a 5.7 percent reduction in teen births in the 18 months following the introduction of the programs. The shows were also linked to an increase in searches for pregnancy alternatives.

Point Topic data for Q4 2013 shows that the U.S. ranks 58th out of 90 countries in household broadband affordability, its $89 monthly average over twice as high as the average prices in Russia, Finland, and Belarus. North American countries also tend to pay more for lesser service, with higher costs than Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region for broadband upwards of 60 Mbps slower.

Tablet ownership and e-reading are on the rise – but so is print readership, according to the Pew Research Center. Half of American adults own either a tablet or an e-reader, up from 43 percent in September 2013, and the number of adults who have read an e-book in the past 12 months stands at 28 percent, up from 23 percent in 2012. However, the number of adults who have read a print book is up from 65 percent in 2012 to 69 percent in 2014, a rebound from a six percentage-point dive between 2011 and 2012.

Despite somewhat lower uptake among younger adults, nearly nine in ten adult broadband users subscribe to cable, satellite or telco-TV, according to new data from The Diffusion Group. Nearly 85 percent of adults between 18 and 24 and 81.9 percent of adults between 25 and 34 subscribe to a pay television service, compared with the average of 87.6%.

App use grew 115 percent in 2013 according to Flurry Analytics, led by a 203 percent increase in messaging and social applications.

The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to include wireless phones as a LifeLine program option.

The rise of e-readers has led to an explosion of Spanish-language book availability.

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