FCC Chairman Michael Powell had an op-ed piece in the Washington Post yesterday, challenging all parts of the TV industry step off the curb and do their part to adopt digital television. He suggested, quite rightly, that all piece of the industry — programming, transmission, and receivers — have been unwilling to commit unless someone else goes first. Powell’s suggestion: “for all the industries to link arms and take one step forward — together.”
How sweet. But what he left considerably less than explicit is what he plans to do to should the industry not be cajoled. After all, the broadcasters got public spectrum to broadcast DTV for free, and set manufacturers and transmission equipment builders stand to profit hugely from digital retrofits. Given all the merger-and-acquisition activity in the media industry over the last five years, maybe this is one more place where Wall Street is paying more attention to The Deal than The Product.