NAB Asks FCC To Extend OVD Comment Period

The National Association of Broadcasters has asked the FCC for more time to comment on its proposal to define some online video distributors (OVDs) as multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).

In a filing Friday (Feb. 6), NAB said that it expected to need more time to analyze the many "complex public policy, legal and regulatory matters" and asked that the current Feb. 17 deadline for initial comments be moved to March 19, and the reply deadline from March 4 moved to April 3.

"NAB anticipates that it will need more than the currently allotted time to analyze these issues, gather relevant data and information, and present constructive ideas to assist the commission to develop rules that promote innovation while remaining faithful to core Communications Act principles," said the filing, so that the FCC can develop "a more robust record."

The FCC voted in December to propose giving linear OVDs nondiscriminatory access to cable-affiliated programming and local TV station broadcasts, regardless of whether or not they have facilities based distribution. Beyond that it tees up lots of questions about how to apply that definition and the ramifications of doing so.

The idea is to help promote online video as a competitor to traditional cable and satellite providers, which the FCC says should produce more choices in programming, by making the MVPD definition technology neutral. "Video is no longer tied to a certain transmission technology, so our interpretation of MVPD should not be tied to transmission facilities," said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler when the item was voted. 

In the past, the FCC has tentatively concluded that an MVPD needed the distribution facility to meet that classification.

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.