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        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Light Reading sits down at CES with the head of Cisco's service provider video business, Conrad Clemson, to discuss how NFV and cloud security relate to video, the challenge of managing 4K/8K traffic, the global expansion of Netflix and virtual reality.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
Join Us at the Digital Operations Transformation Summit

2|4|16   |   03:52   |   (0) comments


The Digital Operations Transformation Summit on February 21, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Centre will bring together 50 senior executives to engage in a unique debate on the opportunities and challenges presented by the transformative evolving digital landscape. RSVP now at events@lightreading.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Making the Test: ADVA Ensemble Connector vs. Open vSwitch

2|4|16   |   01:28   |   (0) comments


Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, recently tested ADVA's Ensemble Connector, which replaces open vSwitch and offers carrier-grade capability and interoperability. The test results strengthen ADVA's credibility as a provider in the virtualization space.
LRTV Custom TV
Bridging the Gap Between PoCs & Deployment in NFV

2|4|16   |   31:50   |   (0) comments


Charlie Ashton of Wind River presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Dublin.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Mike Aquino

2|3|16   |   17:34   |   (0) comments


The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Shades of Ray
MWC: Buckle Up for 5G & the IIoT

2|2|16   |   02:28   |   (0) comments


This year's Mobile World Congress looks set to be a 5G land grab and a chance to get down and dirty with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – but what will the 5G discussions actually be about?
LRTV Custom TV
Case Study: Building China's Next-Gen TV Networks

2|2|16   |   5:01   |   (0) comments


With over 2 billion viewers worldwide, Shenzhen Media Group is one of China's largest content producers. By partnering with Huawei and Sobey, SZMG was able to modernize media operations with the Converged News Center, a production studio that is a model for next-generation workflows.
LRTV Custom TV
Quad Channel Modulator Driver with 46 Gbaud Capability from MACOM

1|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


MACOM's MAOM-003427 is the industry's first surface-mount modulator driver with 46 Gbaud capability to support next generation 200G and 400G applications.
LRTV Custom TV
Video Infographic: Validating Cisco's NFV Infrastructure

1|26|16   |   02:24   |   (1) comment


We all know that the network of the future will be virtual, but when will virtual become a reality? This video infographic covers the four key areas in which Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, tested Cisco's NFV infrastructure: performance, reliability, multi-service capabilities and single pane of glass management.

For the full report, see

Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Phil McKinney, CableLabs

1|22|16   |   13:36   |   (1) comment


At CES in Las Vegas, we met with Phil McKinney, CEO of CableLabs. Phil provides an update on the rollout of DOCSIS 3.1, his views on the future of open source and how consumer interest in virtual reality could affect network traffic.
Between the CEOs
Ericsson CTO on the Changing Telecom Market

1|21|16   |   10:26   |   (0) comments


At CES 2015, CTO of Ericsson, Ulf Ewaldsson, sits down with CEO of Light Reading, Steve Saunders, to discuss the changing telecom market, the new partnership with Cisco and the future of the telecom industry.
LRTV Interviews
Ireland's Data Dream

1|21|16   |   14:31   |   (0) comments


Host In Ireland president Gary Connolly tells Light Reading's Steve Saunders about the role Ireland is playing in hosting data for the world's largest organizations.
LRTV Custom TV
Brocade Keynote: Transitioning to the New IP

1|20|16   |   27:23   |   (0) comments


At 2020 Vision in Dublin, Andrew Coward, VP of Service Provider Strategy at Brocade, presents the transition to the New IP.
Infographics
Cisco's latest VNI numbers suggest the world will be using 366.8 exabytes of data on smartphones and Internet of Things devices, up from 44.2 exabytes, in 2015.
Hot Topics
Alphabet Is Serious About Google Fiber
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/1/2016
Did Juniper Pay 'Peanuts' for BTI?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 2/2/2016
Google's 5G Radio Ambitions Are Expanding
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/5/2016
How Data Center Outsourcing Fuels AT&T NetBond Growth
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 2/3/2016
3.5GHz Startup Gets $22M for Small Cells
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/2/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I like to think I know a fair bit about this next-gen-comms malarkey, but there's nothing like an interview with one of the ...
Animals with Phones
Happy Groundhogs for Technology Day! Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and G.fast for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.