Journalism Competition & Preservation Act

Journalism Competition & Preservation Act overview

News produced by local broadcasters and news outlets continues to be the most trusted and highly consumed source of news for Americans. But producing this local news is very expensive, often representing as much as one-third of total expenses for stations.  Moreover, stations invest significantly in their websites, social networks, mobile apps and other online platforms to reach their viewers and listeners.

Broadcasters and news publishers rely on the big tech platforms like Google and Facebook to get their content out to viewers and listeners.  However, because of their enormous size and scale, these companies control the technologies that power search and content discovery – controlling what content people see and when.  They have also upended the advertising marketplace, exerting enormous influence over what online content is eligible to be monetized, and controlling the share of revenue that is passed on to content providers.  A study released by BIA last year estimates that local broadcasters lose an estimated $1.87 billion annually by providing their content to Google Search and Facebook News Feed.

The Journalism Competition & Preservation Act (JCPA) is bipartisan legislation that would allow local broadcasters and news publishers to jointly negotiate fair terms regarding the flow of advertising dollars and distribution of their news content with the large tech platforms, like Google and Facebook.

OAB Position

The OAB supports the JCPA, which would provide temporary safe harbor from antitrust laws so that broadcasters and other news publishers can collaborate specifically for purpose of negotiating with big tech platforms.

Television and radio stations need the ability to negotiate the terms and conditions by which their content is accessed online.  In the current environment, the overwhelming market power of companies like Google and Facebook means that stations have no leverage to negotiate the terms for distribution of and compensation for their content.  Without some intervention by policymakers, stations may be forced to cut back or eliminate their investment in local news.

Current Status

The JCPS (H.R. 1735) is a bipartisan bill sponsored by Reps. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Ken Buck (R-CO).  A similar bill in the Senate (S. 673) is sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Kennedy (R-LA).

The OAB is encouraging the Members of our Ohio Congressional delegation to cosponsor this legislation.  Currently, Reps. Tim Ryan (D-13) and Marcy Kaptur (D-9) have signed on as cosponsors of H.R. 1735.


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