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FCC's Sohn: OVD MVPD Definition Is Win-Win

The FCC can make proposals, but not take action on them, sometimes for years—as has been the case with the retransmission consent docket. But Gigi Sohn, counselor to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, signaled that would not be the case with the proposal to reclassify some over-the-top video providers as MVPDs.

In a speech to the Media Institute in Washington Thursday (June 4), Sohn included that among the decisions that could be expected out of the Wheeler commission over the next 19 months or so, a commission she said would not be resting on its laurels.

It has been six months since the FCC under Wheeler offered up the proposal as a way to insure OVD providers have the nondiscriminatory access to vertically integrated programming as traditional MVPDs.

"I view this issue as a win-win-win for the incumbent MVPD and broadcast industries," she said, "but most importantly, for consumers. Cable and satellite companies that have their own linear over-the-top offerings will benefit from the rights that being an MVPD confers. Similarly, broadcasters will get another source of retransmission consent revenue from those services that choose to carry broadcast stations. And new business models that might emerge bring new alternatives to consumers already adapting to how they view their programming."

Sohn said the Wheeler administration was lacing up its cleats for the second half of the chairman's tenure—which will almost certainly end with the election of a new President. "The second half is starting, and it promises to be as busy and as challenging as the first," she said.

Among the other key issues for that second half are the incentive auction, Lifeline reform, FCC reform and the IP transition.

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.