Light Reading

Consumer Groups Want 'TV Everywhere' Probe

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
1/4/2010
50%
50%

Free Press and a handful of other consumer pressure groups are urging Congress and the Justice Department to investigate "TV Everywhere," alleging that the cross-platform project is seeking to kill off Web TV competition and tantamount to "collusion" between major MSOs and programmers.

Free Press, Media Access Project , Public Knowledge, and Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. outlined their concerns in a letter to Congress along with a 40-page report claiming that the business plan of TV Everywhere, "which transposes the existing cable TV model onto the online TV market, can only exist with collusion among competitors."

In June, Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) partnered to develop what they called "broad principles for the TV Everywhere model," which included a tenet that it would be "open and non-exclusive," meaning other cable, satellite, and telco TV video distributors would be free to enter into similar agreements with other programmers. (See TW, Comcast Cast 'TV Everywhere' Principles .)

Comcast followed up with a tech trial and subsequent national launch of the PC-centric iteration of that vision -- "Fancast Xfinity TV" -- starting off with about 2,000 incremental, additional hours of content, including content from subscription services HBO and Starz. Time Warner Cable also is testing its own version, and at least three non-cable TV providers -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), and DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) -- have all indicated interest in developing a TV Everywhere-like service of their own. (See Comcast's 'Xfinity' to Go Mobile in 2010 , Comcast's 'Xfinity' Goes Live , and Verizon, TW Cable Join 'TV Everywhere' Bandwagon.)

Although the TV Everywhere concept aims to bring subscription-TV content to multiple screens without requiring the subscriber to pay for that same content multiple times, it's more generally viewed as a preemptive strike against "cord-cutting," a still-nascent trend whereby consumers get rid of their traditional cable or satellite-TV subscriptions and instead rely on high-speed Internet connections and free over-the-air broadcast feeds to take care of all their video needs. (See What Fights Cord-Cutting? and Cable Downplays 'Cord-Cutting' Threat .)

The Free Press group is asking Congress and the Justice Department to probe TV Everywhere agreements between operators and the content providers, claiming those deals stymie competition, limit consumer choice, and serve to protect an existing cable TV model "that gouges consumers."

The report, meanwhile, tries to show that the TV Everywhere project itself "rests on an illegal agreement among competitors -- and that the initiative would not be possible without this illegal collusion."

NCTA: Call for investigation lacks facts, legal basis
Comcast and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) declined to comment, but National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) president & CEO Kyle McSlarrow countered that the call for an investigation of TV Everywhere "has no factual or legal basis no matter how many times Free Press and its allies repeat the words 'collusion,' 'cartel,' and 'illegal.'"

As for the specific allegations of collusion between MSOs and programming partners, McSlarrow stressed that the TV Everywhere concept involves a multitude of competing program networks, including many that distribute content on competing cable, satellite, phone, and online platforms.

"As publicly announced, TV Everywhere envisions separate, bilateral agreements between one content company and one or more individual distributors. It is purely vertical in nature -- like any arrangement between a content company and a distributor," McSlarrow noted, adding that distributors don't have the ability to unilaterally decide how content is distributed.

Time Warner Inc. -- the media giant that owns HBO, CNN, and a stable of other networks, and spun off its cable division last year -- noted in a statement of its own that it's pursuing "many other ways to distribute in a safe and secure way over the Internet our content to people, whether or not they subscribe to a video service." (See Time Warner Cable Leaving the Nest.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
Que Sera Sarah
Growth of the 5G Ecosystem

3|6|15   |   1:15   |   (1) comment


Use cases and industry collaborations dominated 5G discussions during Mobile World Congress 2015. For what the road to 5G means for operators and their partners, head to the Building America's 5G Ecosystem event in New York on April 14.
LRTV Custom TV
Sonus NaaS IQ Real-Time Demo

3|6|15   |   4:03   |   (0) comments


Compass Networks Chairman and CEO Matt Bross and Ray Dolin, CEO of Sonus Networks, demonstrate their Sonus IQ SDN solution using a live video conference connection.
LRTV Custom TV
LRTV Talks Carrier WiFi & WiFi Calling With Aptilo Networks

3|6|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


We stopped by Aptilo Networks, a market leader in WiFi service management and offloading, to discuss the new possibilities with next-generation WiFi calling and why WiFi should be a natural part of any operator strategy.
LRTV Interviews
NGMN Chairman Outlines His 5G Vision

3|6|15   |   5:10   |   (1) comment


Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, chairman of the NGMN Alliance and Deutsche Telekom CTO, shares his thoughts on the challenges, opportunities and costs of 5G.
LRTV Interviews
In the Cloud With Telecom Italia

3|5|15   |   7:10   |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders sits down with Telecom Italia's Simone Battiferri at Mobile World Congress to discuss virtualization, agility and the economic advantages of the cloud.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
New Ways of Working

3|5|15   |   4:24   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Hong Kong Telecom's Michael Yue explains how the transformation in its business has changed its customer relationships.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bridging the Digital Gap

3|5|15   |   4:03   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Boingo's Dr. Derek Peterson explains how ICT can help telcos bring the physical and virtual worlds closer together.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Making the Internet of Things Affordable

3|5|15   |   2:42   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Telefonica's Dr. Mike Short explains how the Internet of Things demands a new low-cost approach to connectivity from telcos.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Evolution, Not Revolution

3|5|15   |   2:00   |   (0) comments


At the ICT Leaders Roundtable, hosted jointly by Light Reading and Huawei at the Hotel Renaissance in Barcelona just prior to Mobile World Congress, Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan explains why telcos can't be too hasty in their efforts to transform themselves.
LRTV Custom TV
Management & Orchestration Enablement Strategies Required for NFV Commercial Success

3|5|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


NFV commercial success rests on successful service orchestration strategies which can span heterogeneous physical, virtual, legacy and next-gen networks. Network data and security integrity are additional key aspects. Nakina provides a suite of orchestratable network integrity applications built on an open, scalable MANO enablement platform.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Power of Five Convergences in OceanStor OS

3|4|15   |   6:24   |   (0) comments


OceanStor OS is Huawei's brand-new storage operating system. While inheriting the consistent high stability, reliability and performance from the company's previous storage products, OceanStor OS abounds in new converged storage features. Specifically, the new storage operating system achieves "five convergences" to lift storage convergence to a higher level.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
4K Brings Extreme Video Experience

3|4|15   |   8:10   |   (0) comments


4K video is a hot topic in the video industry. It will certainly bring an extreme video experience to end users. At the same time, however, it will also pose a big challenge to operators. Check out this Huawei 4K experts' discussion about how operators can achieve success in 4K video service.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Internet Pioneers Decry Title II Rules
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/2/2015
Wheeler: We'll Enforce Title II 'Case-By-Case'
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 3/3/2015
New CenturyLink CTO in Major Overhaul
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/4/2015
Verizon Takes Radio Dot to Detroit, VoLTE Overseas
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders talks transformation and virtualization – including Light Reading's independent testing of the vendor's virtualization solutions – with Cisco CEO John Chambers at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.
G'day! And welcome to an entirely new feature on Light Reading -- our weekly "CEO-to-CEO" interview.