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Hulu Meets With FCC Commissioners, Top Staffers

The Federal Communications Commission's ongoing interest in online video access issues relating to the proposed Comcast/NBCU joint venture continued apace this week, with executives from Hulu, led by CEO Jason Kilar, meeting with five separate groups of FCC staffers, including two commissioners and top aides to the chairman.
According to a filing with the FCC, staffers asked about "revenue models and cost structure, program acquisition, advertising sales and audience measurement" in particular.  More generally, the questions pertained to "future access to video content by OVPDs in the context of the emergence and continued development of online distribution business models that can enhance competition in the video distribution marketplace to the benefit of consumers, content owners and advertisers."
Public-interest groups are concerned that Comcast would favor its own online content over that of others and have pushed for online program-access conditions similar to the FCC's program access rules on traditional video.
NBC has recognized that possiblity.

According to another ex parte filing at the commission, in a meeting with John Flynn, senior counsel on transaction to FCC chairman Julius Genachwoski, Kathy Zachem vice president of regulatory and state legislative affairs for Comcast said that "program access remedy" for online video distribution would be "very complicated," and if the commission did consider applying one, "the post-transaction company should not be precluded from entering into online programming deals that are standard throughout the industry. Comcast has committed to making progamming available on both and Hulu.
The FCC has asked a raft of online content-related questions in data requests of both companies, understandable since Genachowski has suggested that broadband is where much of the media delivery action is going to be in the future.
NBC may be suggesting the same thing in using the relatively new term of "OVPD," for online video program distribution, perhaps the one-day successor to the familiar acronym MVPD.

John Eggerton
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.