February 7, 2008

Jeff Perlman, Executive Vice President – Government Affairs
Clark Rector Jr., Senior Vice President – State Government Affairs
Robert Kohlmeyer, Coordinator – Government Affairs

FCC Majority Approves Product Placement Examination

Three of five commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission have signed a letter "on circulation" to initiate a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on embedded advertising in television broadcasts. All five commissioners must sign the letter in order to bypass a Notice of Proposed Inquiry and go directly to rulemaking. Since the agency has not established any consumer harm, the AAF believes a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is unnecessary. We have sent a joint letter to the FCC urging they instead initiate a Notice of Proposed Inquiry to examine the issue. A copy of the letter is available here (Word document).
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Rep. Dingell Criticizes DTV Education Budget

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich., has criticized the $20 million allocated in President Bush's proposed 2009 budget for digital television transition education as insufficient. In a statement, Dingell said that "Television is the primary means by which the public receives news concerning public safety and national security, so public awareness of the digital television transition is critical. If we are truly concerned about the safety and security of our nation, we should not be attempting this transition on the cheap." The House Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee will hold a hearing next week on the status of education efforts. The final switch from analog to digital television is scheduled for February 17, 2009.
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FTC Fines Marketer for Violating CAN-SPAM

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., have reiterated their intent to pass legislation that would expand the Food and Drug Administration's authority over direct-to-consumer ads for drug products sold over the counter, including the possibility of reviewing ads before they air. The Nonprescription Drug Modernization Act of 2007 (S. 2311 and H.R. 4083) was introduced in November but no hearings have been held.
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FTC Announces Mobile Marketing Town Hall Meeting

On February 14, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on the status of government and industry efforts to prepare the public for the 2009 analog to digital television transition. Additionally, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee will hold its own digital television transition hearing on February 13.
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