Regulation of Distribution

by Carli Blau

This new broadband era that we have now entered is creating a bit of a struggle for the government as it is trying to keep up. While the Internet is currently a neutral space and lacking in regulation, companies are beginning to realize that there may need to be some regulation. The government is also looking to regulate the net. This is called Net Neutrality. It is going to be a very interesting topic in the months to come because large cable companies are pushing for the net to be split, while the FCC and other small internet service providers want to keep the net neutral.  With the Internet being such a big part of distribution of TV, it will eventually have to be regulated somehow, the question to think about is how we are going to do it?

The Senate’s Commerce Committee recently held a hearing to discuss the future of TV and where it thinks it is going. According to the Senate’s Commerce Committee, TV is going to be found in deregulation. “The proposed act deals primarily with deregulating the broadcast industry to eliminate some required coverage mandates and to allow broadcasters to negotiate retransmission rates with pay TV providers just like cable programmers such as ESPN or AMC do.”

The biggest issue of this hearing was the relationship between TV and broadband and how intertwined the relationship is at this point in time. With consumers able to get whatever they want through selection of broadband products, distribution companies, etc., they are not going to settle for paying more than they have to. Therefore, the fight is now going to be all about who has the most power in regards to customers, the broadcast industry or online companies that are planning to distribute television programming all over the internet. [Gigaom]

The scary thing that is going on right here, right now is that TV used to be the biggest storyteller, and while it still may be, it is the Internet that has become the biggest platform for all services. Rather than television being the go-to place for information, the internet is now the place for everything, including TV which has now become just another part of it all. This is going to give the upper hand to online TV distributors, but will definitely challenge and test the relationship between TV distributors and their customers, along with the relationship between customers and the actual TV screen.

TMO News

Executives from News Corporation, NBCUniversal, the Walt Disney Company and the National Association of Broadcasters met with some officials from the FCC because they are not too fond of the proposed public interest rules that would make the amount of money that political candidates are paying for TV advertising. Currently there are rules in questions that would mandate that these big TV networks share their details about politial programming, including how much the candidates are paying to run advertising. The networks are collectively saying that, “[C]ompetitors in the market and commercial advertisers may anonymously glean highly sensitive pricing data, which, by law, will represent the lowest rates charged by the station to its most favored commercial advertisers,” adding that they were “[O]pen to discussing other options for keeping sensitive rate information out of the online public file.” [TVNewser]

Another interesting point here is that other distributors aside from television are not mandated to disclose their political information, yet these networks may have to. Despite what the networks had to say however, the FCC mandated the posting of political files online. If everything is moving online, it is only fair that political files be put online for the pubic to see and have access too. This is where the relationship between broadcast and television is becoming so intertwined that it is causing more problems than good for regulators, since they are not quite sure how to handle the relationship just yet.[TVNewsCheck]

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The FCC is dealing with a lot concerning the new relationship between television and the internet, it seems as though this relationship has caused quite an uproar as many people are not quite sure of how to handle it. The F.C.C. bars the use of airwaves that were originally reserved for satellite-telephone transmissions because it says it will interfere with GPS technology. The airspace is currently being inhabited by the GPS devices, and thus far, there is no way to efficiently deal with potential interference. [NYTimes]

The problem we’re going to see more of in the near future is the regulation of space, airwaves and internet servie especially with everything becoming so intertwined with one another. Everyone is concerned with how to please the customers and give them what they want, but if we continue to see regulations, companies are going to be faced with problems.

Copyright 2009-2011 Rights Reserved.

According to, the NAB asked the FCC to “liberalize local media ownership limits and not to impose new restrictions on contractual arrangements under which stations in a market share resources or operate in tandem.”   The NAB argues that the FCC should allow common ownership of two TV stations in more markets, particularly because of the mergers that have occurred, and different distribution platforms. “The NAB contended that such arrangements should not be restricted. They “do not threaten licensee control over operations and programming decisions, which are the core principles underlying the FCC’s attribution policies,” it said. “In fact, sharing arrangements advance the FCC’s localism and diversity goals by facilitating the provision of local news and other programming.”

© 2012 DD&M Inc. All rights Reserved.

Verizon recently announced that it is going to sell portions of its spectrum in a number of major markets for its purchase of spectrum but there is a debate concerning whether or not the sale is a plot for approval of cable deals. People are assuming that they decided to sell portions of the spectrum because of issues with the Federal Communications Commission. This also brings light to the current question of whether or not there is actually a spectrum crisis. Verizon’s deals for spectrum “included joint marketing agreements with SpectrumCo (an entity owned by Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks), Cox and Leap Wireless.  Those deals are currently under review by the FCC and the Department of Justice and was the subject of a recent hearing before the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee. ” [AdWeek]

The FCC took a big step recently by shifting a large piece of the spectrum from TV broadcast to wireless broadband. “It unanimously approved rules allowing TV stations to share channels while retaining must-carry and other rights that come with owning a full channel.” The FCC made this decision with the hopes that weaker stations will be encouraged to double up on their channels, turn over their spectrum space to the FCC and participate in other “incentive” auctions. One of these auctions is the commission said it would recover up to 120 MHz or 40% of all TV spectrum. Interestingly enough, many broadcasters are not interested in giving up spectrum. [TVNewsCheck]

Things to keep an eye on in months to come is the spectrum scarcity crisis, does it exist and what are the FCC and other broadcast distributors and networks going to do about it, we’ll just have to wait and see.


by Carli Blau

Currently the big TV networks are NBC Universal, CBS, Fox and ABC. Some of the large TV distribution companies are: AT&T U-verse, BendBroadband, Blue Ridge Communications, Bright House Networks, Charter, Cox Communications, DirectTV, DISH, Grande Communications, HTC Digital Cable, Clear Picture, MediaCom, MidContinent Communications, Optimum, RCN, SuddenLink, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FIOS, WOW! and XFINITY.

Many TV distribution companies are venturing into and online platform as the business seems to be going that way. With Youtube, Hulu, HBOGo amongst many other sites, TV has taken on a whole new platform that it never had before, the internet. Many distributors are now coming together to utilize the best of both their programming as well as Internet capabilities. The best part of the Internet is that it allows distributors to reach a massive amount of consumers.

Broadband TV News

According to selective programming is going to beat distribution in the upcoming years. The CTAM EuroSummit of 2011 took place this September in Malta where futurologist Gerd Leonhard, as pictured on the left, explained that TV distributors and content providers are going to need to become more selective with their programming if they want to beat social media. Leonhard claimed that Twitter was replacing CNN as a global news source which seems to be a bit crazy, however, everyone is turning to the online digital platform for everything nowadays, including television. When you think about it, many people, partciularly the younger generations are looking to Twitter for news feed rather than watching TV. This raises a strong question, are TV distribution companies going to be forced to be more selective with their content if they want to continue distributing onto television sets, along with online platforms? We’ll have to wait and see.

©2012 Comcast

BBC World News is going to add major Comcast markets this year, including Xfinity TV Distribution. [MultiChannel] Comcast is currently the biggest multichannel video distributor in the United States, and

BBC World News will be gaining distribution on Xfinity TV through a pact with them. BBC World News already has existing affiliates with Cablevision Systems, Cox Communications and Verizon FIOS, so it will be interesting to see how well they do now affiliated with Comcast.

Google and NBC have been working together to increase  television ad inventory. According to REELSEO, Google has been selling time through Google TV Adwords for NBC advertising inventory and now they’ve made another deal with Bloomberg TV which will allow advertisers to target Bloomberg TV. This affiliation now means that there is serious potential for Google TV. Since Google is already selling adspace to big time networks such as NBC, CNN and now Bloomberg, it’s only a matter of time before more broadcast TV distributors get into the game.

©2011 Starz Entertainment, LLC

Starz and DirecTV have renewed their existing pact to work together; they have now even exposed a new multiplatform distribution deal which gives satcaster’s the ability to offer shows on DirecTV everywhere. This new deal is proof that distribution is moving towards an online platform in that, the agreement will let Starz subs ccess the net’s content online through their DirecTV accounts. “DirecTV and Starz have a long, symbiotic relationship going back to the early 1990s, and I am very pleased that we are able to extend and expand our existing business relationship,” said Ed Huguez, president of affiliate distribution for Starz. The close ties included DirecTV’s strong participation in the multiplatform sampling of “Magic City.” [Variety]

Fox TV distribution goes digital and green with FoxFast, a new completely digital distribution process developed by Fox which is projected to save $10 million per year by avoiding the costs of manufacturing and shipping. This is surely to put some stress on competitors and definitely create some more great products along the digital distribution platform. FoxFast will go right ahead with AppleTV. The reason FoxFast is projected to do so well is that is avoids all physical distribution costs by storing all media digitally for immediate access. To watch videos about FoxFast please visit the following link! [GlobalEnergyInitiativeNewsCorp]


Between HuluYoutube, FoxFast and AppleTV everything about television seems to be hitting some type of online platform for sure. Google plans to release newer and more improved and advanced versions of GoogleTV within the next year. Rishi Chandra, the director of product management at Google said, “The biggest challenge facing the content industry going forward is that in a world of unlimited choice, how do you actually bring the right content to the user?” This is  a great question we’re currently posed with as we face this new online platform and the ability for so many distributors to use it in their own unique ways. The best part about GoogleTV is that it will be able to track everything that the viewers watch. This may be competition for Neilsen Ratings too if that’s the case! [Bloomberg]

Broadband TV News

SES has unveiled a new IP-based satellite reception technology which will convert satellite signals to IP for more in-home distribution to any IP device. This means that in a Sat-IP environment, any device that is IP enabled, such as a tablet, PC, laptop, smartphone, game console or media player will be able to get satellite programming. This will bring satellite distribution to an entirely new and innovated level in that consumers will now be able to watch their favorite TV channels that they receive via satellite on all their other IP enabled devices. It will even include HD channels. [BroadbandTVNews]

There is a new joint venture that is surely to make a big impact. Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd., and CBS Studios International has signed a distribution deal with DishTV which is Asia’s largest DTH company. Vishal Rally, the Business Head at BIG CBS Networks said, “we’re very excited to announce this alliance.” [EasternEveningNews]

© 2012, DISH Network L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Dish and Comcast have been making a lot of deals lately, and making pretty big ones too. There is a new Harlem-based network that offers original urban lifestyle content over multiple platforms that is set to launch this coming August. This network, Urban Broadcast Company will provide news, entertainment, business, fashion, health and fitness through VOD. Urban Broadcast Company also known as UBV-TV has established a video on demand deal with Time Warner, Dish Network and Comcast. This is set to give these distributors some leverage as the new network will be on several platforms only helping the distributors. [MultiChannel]

Broadband TV News

As everything in TV distribution makes its way over to the internet, Warner Bros is now all set to stream their movies via Facebook! This is going to set some real competition for Apple’s iTunes for sure. iTunes currently allows for users to rent movies, yet it does not give them the same opportunity to engage in social media as the deal between Warner Bros and Facebook will.  Warner Bros decided, what better than to use the social networking obsession to better their sales, along with activity on Facebook. Adding social networking to pay-TV is almost genius in the sense that people love doing both things, why not enable them to do them together.

“Facebook has become a daily destination for hundreds of millions of people,” said Thomas Gewecke, President of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. “Making our films available through Facebook is a natural extension of our digital distribution efforts. It gives consumers a simple, convenient way to access and enjoy our films through the world’s largest social network.” This joint partnership and deal will be very interesting to watch over the next year especially with AppleTV set to arrive sooner rather than later. [BroadbandTVNews]

More articles on Distribution:

TV in Real Dime

The Problem With The Digital Upfront