Is The Face of Streaming Content Getting a Makeover in October?
In October, the FCC will be voting on a proposal that could change the way streaming content firms are viewed. The pending vote will help decide if the content firms and streaming video should go into the same regulatory category as Comcast, Dish Network and Cox.
As FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, explains, by making it easier to obtain valuable TV programming for the Web it will help online video providers become stronger competitors to cable and satellite firms
That viewpoint is not necessary shared by the big content providers, Amazon.com, Inc. , Microsoft and Apple Inc.
Last week, lobbyists for Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon met with several senior FCC officials to express their concerns with the plan.
Under the plan, streaming companies would be able to use the FCC’s program access rules to ensure TV networks offer the licensing of their programs. That would allow Apple, for instance, to bring ABC, NBC and Comedy Central to the bargaining table for their programs.
“This is a classic example of a solution in search of a problem. Our concern is that the entire space is in the nascent stage, and we’re still tinkering with existing business models to respond to consumer demands,” said Gregory Barnes, general counsel of the Digital Media Association, a lobbying group that represents the tech firms. “We don’t know where the sweet spot is yet, and our fear is that if you regulate a subset of the industry, it will eliminate our ability to experiment in the future.”