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FCC’s Rosenworcel Pledges to Re-Examine Video Programming Marketplace

Acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel at Nov. 17, 2021, confirmation hearing
Acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel at her Nov. 17 confirmation hearing. (Image credit: C-SPAN)

Acting Federal Communications Commission chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has pledged to re-examine the marketplace for video programming and take “appropriate action.”

She made that promise during her nomination hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday (Nov. 17).

During her questioning, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said that from her work at the Judiciary Committee (she chairs the antitrust subcommittee), she had heard concerns from independent programming networks “regarding the negotiating tactics of some of the video distributors.” Independents have long complained that they lack the leverage to get crucial carriage on large distributors.

The senator asked if Rosenworcel would work with Klobuchar and her colleagues “to re-examine these practices and take appropriate action to protect the public interest.”

Rosenworcel said that if confirmed, she would do so.

Rosneworcel has long been concerned about program-access issues. Back in 2015, when the FCC sought input on that issue, she said: “Time and again we hear that independent programmers face a daunting challenge securing ‘real estate’ on cable and satellite systems. These systems still dominate our video experiences — and securing carriage can be a prerequisite to build the viewership that supports investment in more diverse content.”

If she is confirmed, designated chairman and gets the necessary Democratic majority, Rosenworcel will have both the tools and the impetus to follow through on that re-examination. ■