Press Release: Waterman named FCC chief economist

The Media School Report • Nov. 14, 2014
David Waterman of The Media School
Professor emeritus David Waterman was named chief economist at the Federal Communications Commission. He begins his new post in January. (Courtesy photo)

Note: IU Newsroom’s George Vlahakis sent this press release Nov. 14, 2014. See the online version.

Contact:George Vlahakis
IU Newsroom
Anne Kibbler
The Media School


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — David Waterman, professor emeritus of telecommunications in the Media School, has been appointed as chief economist at the Federal Communications Commission.

A faculty member at IU Bloomington since 1993, Waterman has taught and conducted research on the economics of media and information. He is an expert on vertical integration and other aspects of market structure in multichannel television, and on the economics of programming, copyright and Internet video distribution — topics he will continue to focus on while at the FCC.

“This is a great opportunity for me to have some real influence on policies that I’ve been writing and teaching about for years,” Waterman said. “At the least, I will have plenty to say about them. It’s hard for me to imagine a more interesting time to be there, with the network neutrality debate currently on the commission’s plate, along with a number of television and other media issues that are up my alley.

“Research opportunities I’ve had at IU and interactions with my students here have prepared me for this job,” Waterman added. “I have no doubt that my policy immersion at the FCC will inspire my future research and teaching here for years to come.”

His appointment as chief economist will begin in January. It will last one year, and Waterman will return to IU afterward.

“His understanding of the communications industries and of the relationship of market structures to public policy will allow him to contribute immediately at the FCC,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “Professor Waterman’s presence will aid in our effort to beef up the role of economics in FCC decision-making.”

Media School associate dean Lesa Hatley Major said Waterman is more than qualified for the new post.
“David Waterman has spent his career analyzing the economics of the online video industry and the ownership and market structure in cable television, among many other communications issues, so we are not surprised that the FCC would value his expertise,” she said. “Our students have benefited greatly over the years from his ability to explain complex issues, and now professor Waterman will lend his talents to guiding the government agency charged with regulating the communications industry.”

“Faculty in the Media School are delighted with the appointment and know that David, with his great intelligence and years of relevant experience, will be a terrific asset to the FCC and, more broadly, to the American public at large,” added Walter Gantz, professor and chair of the Department of Telecommunications in the Media School.

Waterman is an author of two books, Hollywood’s Road to Riches (2005, Harvard University Press) and Vertical Integration in Cable Television (1997; MIT Press),  and numerous scholarly articles about market structure and public policy toward the media, the economics of motion picture production and distribution.

He has testified before Congress and has been a consultant to the FCC, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. General Accounting Office. From 2005 to 2010, he was principal editor of the journal Information Economics and Policy.