New Rockefeller Bill Tries to Help Internet Video Succeed
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia), the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, is introducing new legislation aimed at making it easier for online video providers to disrupt the traditional cable sector. As we've seen time and time again from countless companies, including Sony, Microsoft, Google, Intel and Apple -- disruption of the broadband TV space can be hard when the industry's gatekeepers intentionally work together to make licensing content difficult, if not impossible
Rockefeller's new bill, The Consumer Choice in Online Video Act, would afford Internet video upstarts the same rights to programming provided cable companies under the 1992 Cable Act. While the exact language of the bill won't be public until later today, a statement being circulated to the media claims the bill would allow consumers to "benefit from online video's promise of decreased costs, increased choice, and higher-quality video content."
The bill also tries to more specifically ban coordinated, anti-competitive behavior against Internet video companies. Examples include Time Warner Cable's odd admission that it had been paying some broadcasters a premium
to keep their content off of competing Internet video services.
The Act would also apply some of the regulations from the 1992 Cable Act on to smaller upstarts, something that could decrease the bill's already dim chances of success depending on the precise wording of the bill.
"We have all heard the familiar complaint that we have five hundred channels, but there is nothing to watch," Rockefeller said in a statement. "My legislation aims to enable the ultimate a la carte -- to give consumers the ability to watch the programming they want to watch, when they want to watch it, how they want to watch it, and pay for only what they actually watch."
Rockefeller's bill also vaguely addresses the use of caps and overages to thwart Internet video, urging the FCC to "monitor broadband billing practices to make sure they are not used anti-competitively." So far the use of usage caps anti-competitively, or the fact that many usage cap meters aren't accurate
, has generally been ignored by regulators.
Good luck with this It's a nice fresh breeze in a stale room, let's see how long the window is left open before cable bricks it over. You think maybe he wants a donation to his re-election fund? Like where's MY pay-off/donation?
Re: Good luck with this
said by Probitas :Rockefeller announced back in January that he isn't running for re-election.
It's a nice fresh breeze in a stale room, let's see how long the window is left open before cable bricks it over. You think maybe he wants a donation to his re-election fund? Like where's MY pay-off/donation?
Saint Paul, MN
Too Pro Consumer I can't see this going anywhere, unfortunately. Especially anything that would stop the cable ISPs from implementing caps to essentially make any other changes worthless.
"Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something." - Robert A. Heinlein
| |newviewEx .. Ex .. ExactlyPremium
We need to support this bill I just contacted my two elected Maryland senators. asking that they support this bill.
You might want to consider doing the same.
Contact Your Elected Representatives
| |C0deZer0Oc'D To Rhythm And PolicePremium
Re: We need to support this bill Done, and Done.
Heck, as it is even when I am able to justify signing up for TV service again, I would hope this bill also enables it to be easier for me to just get the cablecard, the settings I need to program a tuner to use it, and get the channels we want to watch and be done with it. As it is it's already annoying how most TV providers want to set you up with a power-sucking box for $$/month (plus the cost of the box running - many of which are so power-hungry they alone would use more power than a 70" plasma and home theater system!), when a single CableCARD plus an appropriate tuner could give me far more flexibility in watching and recording the channels I want to watch, so I could watch my shows when I want to, and how I want to.
Because, f*ck Sony
| |RRedlineRated RPremium
Re: Careful with your wishes..
said by battleop:It's going to be offset by advertising. The same excessive, intrusive advertising that we are subjected to now with traditional television.
I can see increased choice and higher quality content but I don't see a decreased cost over all. I think they will find a way to make even more money by charging by the show and not by the channel. If you have a package for 10 stations @ $15/mo today and there are about a dozen shows you like they could hit you for 12 shows @ $1.99 each.
One nation, under Zod!
| |RRedlineRated RPremium
Re: Careful with your wishes..
said by battleop:It really is going to end up getting worse. What people love most about services such as Netflix (besides the low cost) is that there is no advertising. Eventually, the selection will get much, much better, but the experience overall is going to get much, much worse.
No, they will charge you $1.99, include adds, and product placements.
Maybe they will offer higher priced tiers will less advertising, but I wouldn't count on it. At least now, with DVR's, you can skip through commercials. That's not going to be possible in the future once everyone gets all of their content from a cloud. There will even be commercial interruptions during movies. It's coming.
One nation, under Zod!
| If people could pay $15 for the 10 channels they wanted today, then I doubt we'd have a need for this bill. Hell, give me 10 for $20, and I might bite, provided they'd dump the "reality" bullshit and actually air the kinds of programming they originally set out to air (Discovery=science/technology/nature, History=history, Sci-Fi=real sci-fi and not this paranormal junk, TLC=educational shows, Arts & Entertainment=indie/arthouse films, etc.).|
Um, ok Not sure what this is going to accomplish. The Congressman is acting as if the content providers are just clamoring to line up for online services but the mean old cable companies won't let them. But a few facts are in the way:
1. A lot of major cable channels are owned by cable companies (Liberty/Malone controlled, Comcast, DirecTV). Equal access *might* help here, but it's only going to be on the same terms as a regular cable company, so how exactly does that lower prices or enable "new" Netflix-style viewing options?
2. Unless they outlaw usage caps completely, it is a non-starter. They can say "you must be fair to OTT video providers" but if they universally apply data usage caps to all usage, then they are being "fair" as far as the law would be concerned
3. Just about every cable company has a most favored nation clause in their contracts, so an online provider won't get the content any cheaper or without required bundling any sooner than Comcast or Time Warner or DirecTV. Any reforms that would meaningfully help an over the top provider will also help the incumbents
4. Even if somehow they were able to pass a law that made caps illegal or otherwise not an issue, the cable and telephone companies still control the price of the pipe into the home. There is no economic way that an over the top provider could ever possibly offer the service cheap enough to overcome that. The cable companies will always be able to bundle, and you will always need a pipe into your home. Since the cable companies will pay the same price as any newcomers, there's no way to make that pricing work in a way that would favor the newcomer.
Live Oak, CA
If they must try something... If it copies legislation that has already worked for other distribution modes(cable/satellite), then I hope it passes as it could help to decouple video service from a particular ISP, ensuring smaller ISP's could compete against the "triple play" providers more easily.
I'm not sure it would really address the content and competition issues though. Decent cable service is too expensive for a wide swath of the public with the "best" channels reserved for the most expensive tiers, fully out of reach of most families. The most desirable content is effectively walled off from the lower incomes by requiring you purchase all of the worst channels to get a few of the best. We have numerous provider options, typically a minimum of 4 providers(one cable, one telephone, and two satellite), yet packages remain outrageous. Simply putting streaming video services on equal footing with cable and satellite is a step forward, but not a solution to the problem.
If Congress really wants to address the inaccessible costs and lack of competition, they need to focus on the fact what is needed isn't competition between delivery systems, but competition between content itself, and exposure of that competition to the viewer. This is difficult under the scheduled-programming model of traditional channels, but that model is dying: After all, what are the big selling points used in modern advertisements for Cable packages? Multi-channel DVR's for timeshifting, and on-demand selections. It would be great if IPTV services were on the same footing as other providers, but technology is forcing that more than Congress ever will. Not by moving live-programming to the web, but by moving the on-demand web video model to cable systems. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean the competition and cost problems will go away, they will just adapt to the on-demand world through exclusive licensing(ensuring you must have multiple subscriptions to view the most desirable content) or linking on-demand access to traditional channel-subscriptions preserving the "tier" bundling model.
The solution I would like to see(which has no chance at the moment, but I would love to see it at least proposed in Congress), is for Congress to acknowledge that there is absolutely no need for the scheduled-programming model anymore(concerning cable systems, not broadcast) and demand that all copyrighted content that is commercially distributed be available to all providers at a common, per-impression cost. To respect copyright ownership, the cost per impression would be set exclusively by the copyright owner. This would ensure that it is the content itself that competes.