Prime Time Access Rule

Prime Time Access Rule

Prime Time Access Rule

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The Prime Time Access Rule (PTAR) was instituted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1970 to restrict the amount of network broadcast programming that a local television station, Owned-and-operated station (O&O) by or affiliated with a television network may air during "prime time". It was repealed in 1996.


The first PTAR was issued in 1970 and was implemented at the beginning of the 1971-1972 season (the week of September 13–19, 1971); it was re-examined periodically and has undergone several modifications since its initial issue.

The PTAR was instated because of the concern that the three major television networksABC, CBS, and NBC—dominated the television program production market, controlled much of the video fare presented to the public, and inhibited the development of competing program sources. The FCC believed that instilling PTAR would ultimately increase the level of competition in program production, reduce the networks’ control over their affiliates’ programming decisions, and thereby increase the diversity of programs available to the public. To assure that independent companies would have access, the FCC, at the same time, instituted the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules (commonly known as "fin-syn,") which prohibited networks from owning syndication arms. Existing syndication arms of the networks were forced to be spun off as new companies independent of network management.


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