& cplSiteName &

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
Either we perform a complete 'factory reset' on the way the telecom industry creates and deploys virtualization, or we face the consequences.
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
The Urgency of Commercial 5G Services

4|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


The progress of 5G has been closely monitored in the industry. At the 2017 Brooklyn 5G Summit, the sense of urgency for a commercial 5G launch had started to surface among operators.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
How Diversity Helps Comcast Mirror Its Customer Base

4|26|17   |   2:55   |   (0) comments


Diversity brings innovation, creative ideas and a way to reflect the broad spectrum of your customer base, Comcast Director of Customer Experience Jenelle Champlin says.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mobile Operators & Video

4|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ovum's Ed Barton discusses the latest mobile operator strategies for mobile video.
LRTV Custom TV
Infinera Introduces Instant Network

4|20|17   |     |   (1) comment


Mike Capuano, vice president of marketing at Infinera, discusses the advancement from Instant Bandwidth to new Instant Network capabilities, which include Bandwidth License Pools, Moveable Licenses and Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE).
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Vodafone's Eubank on Sponsors, Mentors & Moving On Up

4|19|17   |   4:25   |   (0) comments


Vodafone America's Head of Operations Kimberly Eubank breaks down the difference between a sponsor and a mentor and shares why both made a big difference in her career.
LRTV Custom TV
NYC Auto Show: Are We Smart Yet?

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


The auto industry is facing some big transformations as electric vehicles, autonomous technology and connected cars are seen as the future of the industry. During the much-anticipated NY international auto show, there was an emergence of new technology and mobility service on the show floor. Aside from performance, brands like Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes and ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Impact of Video

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Mercer from Strategy Analytics discusses the impact of video on current strategies.
LRTV Custom TV
Pardeep Kohli Discusses Network Transformation & the Market Opportunity for the 'New' Mavenir Systems

4|13|17   |     |   (0) comments


In a brief discussion at MWC 2017, Heavy Reading analyst Adi Kishore talks to Pardeep Kohli, CEO, Mavenir Systems about the creation of the 'new Mavenir' and some of the key challenges facing operators in today's market. A key theme of the discussion centers around operator need for software-only, virtualized solutions and how they will need to adapt to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Tech Maverick Shares Her Tips for Gender Inclusivity

4|12|17   |   7:28   |   (0) comments


Wendy Hall Bohling, a corporate escapee, author and gender exclusivity consultant, tells her story of sexism, bias and progress along the road to gender equality in the workforce.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at MWC 2017

4|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress 2017, the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year, Huawei showcased its new innovations and solutions with the theme "Open Road," which focuses on cloud, 5G, operation transformation, videos and consumer-oriented products. Its campaign has been recognized by three awards given by GSMA.
LRTV Custom TV
China Telecom NFV Infrastructure on RSD

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Lynn Comp, senior director of market development of Intel, is joined by Chong Zhang, storage engineer at Inspur and Ou Li Yan, architect for technology strategies of China Telecom, for a discussion of what NFV brings.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's IMPACT Software Demo

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Khamis Abulgubein of IoT market development at Nokia demonstrates IMPACT (intelligent management platform for all connected things), a software solution with a horizontal approach to managing any device on any application.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Brazos Hall - Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Surprise! AT&T Markets 4G Advances as '5G Evolution'
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
Did Verizon Outbid AT&T for Straight Path?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
First Year TIPs the Scale Toward Success
Denise Culver, 4/24/2017
Netflix Set to Enter China
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/25/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.