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FCC Launches Video Competition Review

The FCC for the first time will look at the effect of family cable programming tiers on price and service in its annual review of competition in the video marketplace.

The commission will also expand its view by looking at the impact of Internet video, IPTV, mobile video and even home video rental and sales on the marketplace, all but home video having taken off substantially since its 2005 competition report.

The FCC is soliciting information, including programming, technical, and financial information, from the relevant industries. Those include DBS, cable, broadband, private cable, wireless, and over-the-air broadcast TV as the new delivery systems.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has pushed for family tiers as a way both to combat cable indecency and to lower cable bills. Several cable companies have begun offering the tiers in response to Martin's prompting.

There will be an open-ended comment period. Martin emphasized at the Thursday meeting that the FCC was relying on complete and accurate information from all the companies involved. Democratic Chairman Michael Copps said he wished the FCC would do more of its own active data collection and verification.