According to sources, the Senate Commerce Committee will
hold a hearing on video in general and retransmission consent in particular on
Witnesses likely to be invited include Martin Franks of CBS;
the National Association of Broadcasters' Gordon Smith; Melinda
Witmer from Time Warner Cable; Colleen Abdoulah from Wide Open West cable and a
leading member of the American Cable Association; former top Disney Washington
executive Preston Padden; and Mark Cooper of the Consumer Federation of
B&C/Multichannel News reported last month
that the committee was eyeing late July for a hearing on retransmission
consent, which would likely include some attention to the sweeping communicationsderegulation bill backed by Senator James DeMint (R-S.C.). The bill is not
likely to go anywhere in the Senate, but DeMint is in line to be ranking member
and perhaps chairman, and some cable and satellite companies are said to have
pushed for a hearing.
The House recently held its own future of video hearing, an
issue that has heated up with the move of video online and issues like the
Aereo transmission/retransmission service dispute and the FCC's request for
comment on whether online video providers should be defined as MVPDs, with the
rights and privileges that entails.
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