FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's circulation of a proposal to define some over-the-top video providers as MVPDs with program access rights drew immediate responses from some interested stakeholders.
Aereo, which sees the move as a possible path to a workable business plan for its own over-the-top programming service, was, not surprisingly, pleased by the development.
“This is an important step in the right direction for consumers," said Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia. "Clarifying the definition of MVPD to encompass linear online video distributors will create a stronger, more competitive television landscape for consumers."
"By moving this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) forward, the FCC will provide much-needed regulatory clarity and a clear set of rules for linear video programming systems, which ultimately, will increase investment in the video programming market."
“The way people consume television is rapidly changing and our laws and regulations have not kept pace. By clarifying these rules, the FCC is taking a real and meaningful step forward for competition in the video market. The FCC recognizes that when competition flourishes, consumers win.”
The American Cable Association is still looking for action out of the FCC on program access rule reforms. It did not comment directly on the proposal, but instead used it as a jumping-off point for its call for that reform, a point it made after B&C/MultichannelNews first broke the story of the proposal last month.
“With today’s announcement regarding a new technology-neutral definition of a multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD), the American Cable Association is hopeful that FCC Chairman Wheeler will also direct the Media Bureau to finish work on the FCC’s longstanding proposal to reform its program access rules," said ACA president Matt Polka.
“This action is needed to effectuate Congress’ intent that the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) – a cable programming buying group used by nearly all small and medium-sized MVPDs – receives the same program access protections that Chairman Wheeler recognizes are vital to the ability of over-the-top video programming distributors to enter and compete in this market," said Polka.
“Hundreds of small MVPDs that are also broadband Internet service providers – including dozens of new competitive entrants in the market that joined NCTC in the last few years – would benefit from reform of the FCC's program access rules and, as a result, would be better positioned to continue their broadband deployment efforts," he said.
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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