Amazon: NCTA App Not Needed to Secure Content

In meetings with the FCC's three Democrats, Amazon executives have said that from what they could tell about the National Cable & Telecommunications Association-backed "ditch the box" compromise set-top proposal, its proposed "native" app approach was not necessary to ensure that content delivered to streaming media players was secure.

According to a copy of an ex parte filing, they told FCC officials that chairman Tom Wheeler's "unlock the box: proposal can deliver content security, and that given that a native app has no impact on the robustness on the hardware-based digital rights management, which it called the "gold standard," the "ditch the box" proposal, which is focused on a native app providing access to MVPD content, "does not address the security concerns MVPDs have identified as one of the central reasons to oppose the proposals" in the FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on set-tops.

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Wheeler has proposed requiring MVPDs to make their content and data streams available to third party navigation devices.

If the FCC does go with an app-based approach to video navigation, Amazon execs said, it should incorporate the following:

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MVPDs should "adhere to the standard practices and business terms of app distribution, including 'in-app' transactions," provide both the full MVPD linear channel lineup and the VOD library their subs are entitled to, and be required to provide access to the necessary metadata for universal search and electronic program guides.

The FCC is looking to promote a market in third-party navigation devices, citing the fact that Congress told the FCC there should be choice in navigation devices and currently 99% of them are leased from cable and satellite companies.

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The Amazon officials met with top staffers for Wheeler and Democratic Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel. If those three can agree on a way forward, that is enough votes to get it on the books. But Rosenworcel has said the current approach is flawed and cited, in part, Copyright Office concerns about protecting content.

John Eggerton

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.