Streaming Video Lobby Launches in D.C.

Fred Upton and Mignon Clyburn
Republican Fred Upton and Democrat Mignon Clyburn will advise the new group. (Image credit: U.S. Congress, FCC)

The video streaming industry has some new champions in Washington.

Former House Energy & Commerce Committee chair Fred Upton, a Republican, and former Federal Communications Commission chair Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat, will be senior advisers to the newly minted Streaming Innovation Alliance, which will advocate for over-the-top video providers in Washington.

Among the new group's backers are Max, Netflix, Peacock, Paramount Plus, BET Plus, Pluto TV and The Walt Disney Co.

The Motion Picture Association played a major role in putting together the alliance.

“Streaming provides great value, vast programming choices, and unprecedented options for consumers,” MPA chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin said. “The MPA looks forward to working with the SIA and its members to ensure federal and state policy propels this incredible innovation forward — and doesn’t undermine the value and diversity consumers are enjoying today.”

The alliance’s creation comes as streamers are under pressure in D.C. over content and their growing power over video distribution and access.

The FCC is being pushed to consider applying access and carriage regulations on streamers, as well as adding them to its broadband subsidy contribution base.

The FCC's Universal Service Fund draws from a shrinking pool of landline phone service, so some have suggested that big, bandwidth-intensive edge providers -- like Netflix and YouTube-- should also be hit up for money to help close the digital divide.

Congress also is laser focused on Big Tech in general with eyes toward tightening antitrust laws to take into account the power of edge providers, including the streamers that are increasingly becoming the go-to video distributors for an online-centric world. 

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.