Commentary

OTT Alliance Of Small-To-Mid-Sized Companies Looking For Big-Boy FCC Benefits

Do over-the-top digital platforms and TV providers, especially small to medium-sized companies, need FCC protection?

Telletopia Foundation, a nonprofit online video service provider, has formed the TV Neutrality Alliance for OTT service providers and broadcasters to promote “innovation and competition in the distribution of multichannel video programming.”

Founding alliance members include: BiggyTV, BitTorrent, Camino Real Communications, Cocola Broadcasting Companies, Cooper Communications, Pi Omni-Media LLC, Pluto TV, Telletopia and Ventura Broadcasting Co.

These companies don’t want to cede control to the big and powerful pay TV providers, who, the Alliance says, represent a virtual monopoly. Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network, or Charter-Time Warner, as well as major media companies, Walt Disney, CBS, and Fox -- companies who have started up some of their own OTT services -- are always a competitive threat.

The Alliance applauds the FCC push for “open set top boxes,” which would let in small and big players alike onto existing systems.

Key is for the FCC to classify online video distributors (OVDs) of broadcast station signals as multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), and only those OVDs wishing to benefit from retransmission consent and program access rules should be required to comply.

In particular, the Alliance wonders what might become of local TV station broadcasters. Can they be fairly compensated in this new OTT world? Better yet, what if they are not included at all?

Surely, big media players — those who own networks — might have some leverage here for their TV station groups. But what about the likes of Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Tenga, Tribune Media and others who have fewer big media partner connections?

Now you may see why local TV stations groups have rushed into forming bigger companies over the last couple of years -- that the ongoing TV/media disruption, including big-media backed OTT service growth, might push small to mid-size TV station companies onto the sidelines.

TV station groups want to believe still valuable connections to local TV/media audience, through news programming and other content, mean big value -- now, and in a growing OTT world.

A bigger, more diverse media world may have other ideas.

Next story loading loading..