TV Everywhere = Competition Nowhere

As Comcasts Launches New Service, FCC Moves to Force Cable to Open Up Access to Programming
Contact Info: 
Moira Vahey 202-265-1490 x31

WASHINGTON -- Comcast Corp. announced on Tuesday the launch of "TV Everywhere," an online video service that is available only to Comcast cable subscribers. The new business model poses a serious threat to online video competition.

On the same day as the TV Everywhere launch, the Federal Communications Commission reinforced its commitment to maximizing consumer choice in video programming. The Commission announced it seeks to close a loophole in the law that currently allows cable operators to keep competing cable providers -- like satellite and telephone companies - from getting access to popular programming, such as regional sports networks. This has been a hot issue in recent months and the subject of numerous complaints against cable companies filed by competitors.

Marvin Ammori, senior adviser at Free Press, made the following statement:

"The launch of the TV Everywhere model indicates that Comcast wants competition nowhere. These are transparent efforts to preserve the cable cartel that gouges consumers. Comcast wants to be the gatekeeper to the video programming world. This service is a threat to innovative online video and an attempt by the industry to impose the cable-TV model onto the Internet.

"If Comcast is not attempting to stifle competition, then why is it only available to Comcast cable subscribers and not nationwide for all Internet users? Comcast’s power to manipulate online video is particularly troubling as the cable behemoth prepares to gobble up NBC Universal.

"The move today by the FCC highlights a problem consumers should worry about across the media industry. For years, cable operators have exploited a loophole in the law that lets them restrict access to popular programming for themselves and hurt their competitors. The FCC is closing the loophole and requiring nondiscriminatory access for all competitive cable operators. The same basic principle should apply to Internet video distribution; and it should cause regulators to take a hard look at TV Everywhere -- a similarly anti-competitive move online."

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