FCC To Break Out OVDs in Competition Report

The FCC will treat online video distributors as a separate category in its next annual competition report, signaling that, for now, it is still not a substitute for MVPD service but an "additional method for viewing video programming"

The FCC just released its call for info, having concluded that the info for its 2009 was insufficient. It is asking for more info for that year, and if possible, for 2007 and 2008 so it can better analyze trends by getting comparable data.

The commission signaled in its online video conditions on the Comcast/NBCU deal that so-called OVDs would likely be a growing competitor to traditional video. But it suggests in its just-released call for comment that online is not yet a direct competitor be counted in the larger MVPD market. But it also asks for info from cable, satellite, broadcasters and others on how much they think OVDs are direct competition rather.

Under its new framework, the commission will divide video programming into MVPDs, broadcast TV stations, and OVDs.

Among the questions it is asking about OVDS: "Has the entry of OVDs in the marketplace resulted in reduced viewership of video programming from MVPDs and broadcast television stations? What metrics should we use to compare OVD viewership, MVPD viewership, and broadcast television station viewership?

Comments on the proposed changes to the report are due June 8; replies July 8.

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.