Editorial: Define and Conquer

The FCC has at least begun the process of defining an over-the-top program distributor.

The FCC has been promoting OTT video as a potential competitor to multichannel video programming distributors, something FCC chairman Tom Wheeler emphasized in announcing the circulation of a proposal to define linear OTTs as MVPDs. If that is to be the case, the FCC needs to bring the definition up to speed, that being the speed of digital.

But we have another “we wish” caveat (see first editorial). We wish the chairman had not, once again, played the blame game by framing the move as a response to cable services forcing subs to buy channels they didn’t watch, or locking up programming, treating the cable business model as somehow inherently anti-consumer.

The FCC should not handicap traditional MVPDs by putting a thumb on the scale for OTT.