4A'S WON'T FILE FCC COMMENT ON MEDIA CONSOLIDATION

Diverse Membership Opinions Prevent Ad Group From Taking a Position

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The American Association of Advertising Agencies has decided not to file comments with the Federal Communications Commission on media consolidation but said it will advise the FCC as to consolidation's affects on advertising.

'Expert views'
"We look forward to providing the commission with practical, insightful expert views on the rules as they affect the ad industry in the implementation stage," said Adonis Hoffman, senior vice president and counsel for the 4A's. "We believe that no other party can help the commission guide its process as it relates to advertising."

Mr. Hoffman said that while

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the 4A's extensively examined the possibility of commenting on the FCC's plans to revise the rules regarding media consolidation, a decision was eventually made that there wasn't enough agreement to take a position.

No voice in debate
The result of the 4A's decision to not file comments will be to leave advertisers and ad agencies largely unheard in Washington. Mr. Hoffman, however, said the 4A's will work with the FCC to make sure it understands the technical side of buying time; how different media works; and whether advertisers can substitute one kind of media for another if prices get too high.

The 4A's had been planning to file comments and went so far as to hire a group to examine the issue.

Deadline for comments
Yesterday was the deadline to file comments on media ownership rules with the FCC, although the FCC has one hearing set for Feb. 27 in Richmond, Va., and will take additional comments at that hearing.

Some media buyers have complained that media consolidation has driven up ad prices and made it difficult for smaller advertisers to buy their small geographic area of coverage and for some advertisers to find localized programming suitable to selling local products.

Mr. Hoffman, however, said that 4A's members "had strong feelings on both sides of the issue."

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