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New Bill Would Incentivize Diverse Streaming

A boy watches content on a tablet
(Image credit: JGI/Tom Grill via Getty Images)

A coalition of diversity groups has asked Congress to pass HR 5056, the MVPD Tax Credit Program, which would give a tax credit to MVPDs and their over-the-top streaming counterparts for carrying diverse, including minority targeted, independent programming.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.).

In a letter to House leadership, the groups, which included the Multicultural Media, Telecom & Internet Council and the National Urban League, "implored" them to pass the bill, which they said would help level the playing field for indies in the pay TV business, including on OTT platforms, such as You Tube TV, Hulu, and Sling.

Also Read: Starks: Broadcast Ownership Report Still Shows Diversity Deficit

Specifically, Clarke's bill provides that:

"For each qualifying carriage agreement with eligible independent programmers, an MVPD will be eligible for a tax credit equal to 1) the lesser of the net license fees paid or incurred by the MVPD or 2) the product of $0.10 multiplied by the number of subscribers per month receiving the independent programming provided under such agreement. 

"Programming credits will not exceed the product of $0.10 multiplied by 3 times the average number of an eligible distributor’s subscribers in a given taxable year. Tax credits received under this Act cannot also be claimed as a tax deduction."

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.