Feb 20, 2007

GAO: Toy (etc.) deals "unlikely" source of big money

A newly released report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (79-page PDF, see pages 6-7 and 44-52) found little to support the view of Rep. Ginny Browne-Waite (and AIM) that public broadcasting has become a "billionaire" from merchandising deals. The Florida Republican made the claim in 2005 before asking for the GAO study. Few programs generate back-end revenues, GAO explains. The successful ones pay license fees of only 2.5 to 7.5 percent of merchandise retail prices, anyway, and neither PBS nor CPB is likely to get much of that because they don't make big front-end investments. That's pretty much what Current reported in 1995 when politicians claimed Barney was making PBS rich.

Views on an XM/Sirius merger

Doc Searls shares his thoughts about the possible merger of XM and Sirius: "I don't care how diverse the programming becomes, it's still coming from too few companies. When the choice gets down to one, I guarantee that programming will have a homogenous quality to it." One programmer sees some upsides. "Public/community radio, with its hook of no commercials, will inevitably gain from a pool of listeners who won’t be as excited about paying $20 a month for programming that changes from when they signed up," writes Ernesto Aguilar, p.d. of KPFT-FM in Houston.