& cplSiteName &

Consumer Groups Want 'TV Everywhere' Probe

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

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        ADD A COMMENT
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
Wednesday, October 26, 1:00PM EDT
Security: Tackling DDoS
Gary Sockrider, Principal Security Technologist, Arbor Networks
Friday, October 28, 1:00PM EDT
Security: The Plusses and Minuses of Open Source Software
Nick Feamster, Acting Director, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University
Wednesday, November 16, 1:00PM EST
SDN 101
John Isch, Practice Director, Network & Voice, Orange Business Services
Friday, November 18, 1:00PM EST
SDN & Open Source
Christopher W. Rice, Senior Vice President of AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation Technology Beyond DOCSIS 3.1

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Liu Jianhua speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Hybrid Video Solutions to Change TV, Change Future

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Ian Locke speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Future-Oriented Giga Coax Network

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Allen Wang speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei at SCTE 2016

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and take a sneak peek at the Huawei booth at SCTE 2016.
LRTV Custom TV
Assuring Network Quality in a Rapidly Changing Environment

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

As the rate of change and complexity increases in agile networks, the importance of introducing DevOps methodologies for integrating active test and assurance solutions throughout the full service lifecycle becomes critical to ensure that customers are experiencing the service quality they demand. The industry landscape is changing, and software-based test and ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
A10 Networks on Service Providers' Industry Needs

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders hears how A10 enables service providers to accelerate, secure and optimize their application delivery to drive down costs, enhance service availability, and better respond to customer requirements, so they can improve customer satisfaction, monetize their network, and grow revenues.
LRTV Custom TV
New NFV Use Cases for Cable TV

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

A large number of NFV use cases are focused on the enterprise domain, looking at virtualization of customer-premises equipment (CPE). To date, there has been little focus on the use cases and business case for virtualization of the video content delivery networks required to deliver unicast and streaming video to consumers. Amdocs commissioned Analysys Mason to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Meet the Future Workforce: New Faces, Expectations & Motivations

10|19|16   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

Millennials and their younger peers, Gen Z, expect more out of their network and more out of their work. Intel's Lynn Comp shares how the industry can prepare for this new generation of workers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE Global Services User Congress 2016 Highlights

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

ZTE held its 2nd Global Service User Conference in Dusseldorf on October 13-14. Representatives from network operators, leading industry analysts and ZTE senior expertsattended the event, exploring the best practice in managed services and the vision to transform network operations into the operations center of the future (OpCF) in the software-defined networking ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cliff Grossner on Cloud & Network Synergy From Carrier Service

10|18|16   |     |   (0) comments

Local carriers offer the collaborated cloud and network service that benefits from their understanding of the regulations operating in different vertical markets.
In this interview, Cliff Grossner from IHS Technology talks about how this advanced service can support business agility and flexibility.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live from SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Cyrille Morelle, VeEX's President and CEO, talks with Light Reading's Alan Breznick live from the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016. They discuss DOCSIS 3.1 technology, deployments and early lessons learned. New products on display include the CX350s-D3.1, CX380s-D3.1, CX310, AT2500-3G, FX150 OTDR and MTT WiFI Air Expert.
LRTV Custom TV
Smith Micro's Carrier-Grade WiFi Component

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Carol Wilson of Light Reading as she interviews the CTO of Smith Micro, Dave Sperling.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Attacks Have Major Internet Sites on the Ropes
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/21/2016
Verizon Wants More Data on Yahoo Breach
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/20/2016
Layer3 TV Comes to Town, Hints at Future
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/21/2016
Telecom Italia Plots Digital 'Overlay,' Not Transformation
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/17/2016
Oh Snap! Qualcomm Unveils X50, Its First 5G Modem
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/17/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.