Report: since most people watch TV on cable, broadcast licenses are 'superfluous'

Cable providers serving New Jersey may become the vanguard in a new way of doing business with state-run public television networks based on suggestions in a report, A Future for Public Media in New Jersey: How to Create a New Basis for public Radio, TV and Online Media in on of American Journalism's Worst Covered States, published by New Jersey Public Policy Perspective.

Cutting to the chase, the report suggests that the state can simultaneously salve its financial bleeding and create a new "multiplatform public media" outlet from its state-run television network by selling off TV licenses and depending on other outlets such as cable, satellite and broadband, to deliver content to the state's residents.

The report's conclusion--which should concern cable operators already saddled with extensive must-carry requirements for New York and Philadelphia-based TV markets--is that the television licenses are superfluous since most viewers watch the state's networks on cable and satellite and these licenses can be sold to finance a transformation of the state network into a broadband multiplatform provider.

This would mean a demand that cable carry the networks lest they go dark for state residents and, perhaps, add new channels or other services from private concerns that buy the licenses. On a more positive note, the licenses could potentially be sold for use as wireless broadband by either cable or mobile operators in the state, although this is less clear as a future path.

Most states are like New Jersey; in financial difficulty and looking to do something with public networks. New Jersey, if it follows the recommendations of the report, could serve as the frontrunner in the way states deliver television and how cable operators are expected to carry it.

For more:
- see the report here

Related article:
All sides weigh in, none happily, on must-carry/retransmission issue