RM Broadcasting, a U.S.-owned company that has leased airtime to Rossiya Segodnya (the Russian Federation government-owned news agency that runs Sputnik) is being pressed by the Department of Justice to register as a foreign agent of the Russian government, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The U.S. government says that a “service agreement” between RM and Rossiya Segodnya gives the Russian company “complete control over the contents" of RM’s station, WZHF 1390 AM in Washington, D.C. While RM claims that it has no “joint venture relationship whatsoever” with Russian interests, the DoJ says that the station is disseminating information to U.S. audiences to promote the interests of the Russian government.
The Federal Communications Communication will suspend most of its operations on Jan. 3 if the government shutdown continues. The FCC says that “work required for the protection of life and property will continue,” but it also lists the services that will be temporarily unavailable, which include the shutdown of consumer complaint and inquiry phone lines, the cease of licensing services and the stoppage of equipment authorizations. The FCC’s staff, which numbered 1,442 workers prior to the shutdown, would be reduced to 245, with the remainder on furlough.
Fuse, the Latino-oriented TV network owned in part by Jennifer Lopez, is being pulled by Comcast and Verizon FiOS. The Wrap reports that the loss of Comcast could eliminate about a third of Fuse’s household reach, while Verizon’s decision will likely result in a low single-digit reduction of the network’s distribution. According to Nielsen figures, Fuse reached approximately 74 million cable households a few years ago but dropped to about 60 million as of February 2018. “Comcast is silencing yet another independent media company, in this case, one that is devoted to providing a platform for inclusive voices and authentic representation at a uniquely important time in our society,” said Fuse president-CEO Michael Schwimmer.
The contract between CBS and Nielsen has expired, and plans to renew it are facing considerable headwinds. According to Variety, CBS is considering dropping Nielsen in favor of using a combination of its own data and measurement information from Comscore. Part of the issue is Nielsen’s dependence on measuring linear TV audiences (those watching TV in real-time). That reliance has become more problematic as consumers increasingly turn to streaming and on-demand services. Nielsen says it is increasing its efforts to measure those viewers. Variety says that Nielsen’s contract with CBS is estimated at more than $100 million per year.