At the next industry event you attend, here’s some red meat to throw around if you’d like to ruin a perfectly nice dinner in mixed company: Just exactly how much do cable operators use special contract provisions to dissuade media companies from using the latest technologies to put their programming on the Internet?
The Wall Street Journal went there with a recent article as part of its coverage of the FCC’s attempts to address what the paper refers to as “one of the big conundrums of the telecom age: Why has television come to the Internet so slow despite technical breakthroughs?”
The FCC is indicating that as part of a possible blessing of the potential Charter/Time Warner nuptials, the Commission will restrict New Charter from using contract terms with programmers to throttle online video efforts, according to the WSJ piece. The Commission reportedly had meet-ups with the likes of Disney, 21st Century Fox and other similar companies to study how programming licensing contracts impact their ability to transfer content to the Internet. The WSJ reports that as part of conditions for the merger, the FCC will attach conditions that limit contract clauses restricting migration of programming to the Web.
The anti-cable agenda is the real story here, Berin Szoka, president of think tank TechFreedom, tells the WSJ. “Banning such clauses is simply part of a long-standing regulatory agenda for critics of cable, who happen to have enormous political sway over this FCC,” he says.
Filed Under: Industry regulations