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Gus Bilirakis Introduces the Independent Programmers Tax Incentive Act With Support of Florida Reps

This week, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., showcased the “Independent Programmers Tax Incentive Act” which, he insists, will “enhance opportunities for new and independent voices in media.”

Bilirakis introduced the bill last week with U.S. Reps. Yvette Clarke, D-NY, Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., and Greg Steube, R-Fla., as the main co-sponsors. U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., and Darren Soto, D-Fla., are also backing the bill.

“While the global video market is on track to be valued at $1 trillion or more by 2030, this growth has not been spread evenly to all programming creators. This growth has led to a consolidation that is allowing traditional media and new online media to control the lion’s share of the content being created and seen by the consumer. The concentration of media ownership reduces diversity of viewpoints, limits consumer choice, and creates the potential for biased coverage based upon real or perceived conflicts of interest. The goal of this bipartisan bill is to create a market-based incentive program to allow more small and independent programmers to have an opportunity for their content to be seen. Specifically, IPTIA will create an investment tax credit for carriage of independent programmers by qualified multichannel video programming distributors,” Bilirakis’ office noted.

“Independent media ownership offers American TV viewers different viewpoints and ensures robust competition,” said Bilirakis “This legislation levels the playing field and opens the door for independent entities to compete and thrive in the Pay TV industry.”

“We all know emphasizing diversity can create new opportunities, more competition, and level the playing field for independent programmers in the pay TV business, including on OTT platforms, such as YouTube TV, Hulu, and Sling. This legislation will create a tax credit to incentivize carriage of more diverse tv programming, and I look forward to seeing this bipartisan legislation becoming law and improving opportunities for all voices to have a chance to be heard,” said Clarke.

“I’m pleased to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that will give the American people access to a greater variety of new content providers by incentivizing more competition in an industry dominated by a handful of large media companies,” said Steube.

The bill has the support of several news and media organizations.

“This legislation is a win-win-win. It is a win for consumers who will have access to more diverse voices on their cable systems, it is a win for independent programmers that will gain more access to subscribers and it is a win for MVPDs and vMVPDs that will be able to offset ever increasing costs with a new tax credit when they choose to carry independent voices,” said Chris Ruddy, the CEO of NewsMax.

Kids Street, VMe Media Inc, Prime Women and EarthX are also backing the proposal.

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Ways and Means and the Energy and Commerce Committees. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.

Author

  • Kevin Derby

    Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

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