20 US Senators Ask the FCC to Turn YouTube TV, DIRECTV STREAM, Fubo, & More Into Cable TV Companies





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Today, 20 US Senators joined a growing number of local TV station owners to ask the FCC to turn streaming services like YouTube TV, DIRECTV STREAM, Fubo, and more into cable TV companies. In the letter, the Senators worry that streaming services like YouTube TV could undermine local news if the FCC doesn’t regulate them.

This comes as earlier this year, Local TV station owners formed a new Coalition for Local News to push the FCC to force cord cutting services to be treated like cable TV companies. If the FCC agrees to change the rules, it would force YouTube TV, Hulu, Fubo, and more to strike deals directly with the owners of local TV station owners instead of the big networks.

Now, the Coalition, made up of 600 local TV stations owned by groups like Nexstar, last week put out a new statement to demand change to how the FCC regulates live TV streaming services.

In the letter to the FCC the Senators said “In light of these marketplace changes, we urge the Commission to examine the video marketplace and seriously consider how it can ensure the viability of local broadcast stations and promote localism. As the expert agency, the Commission should be developing a record and recommendations to ensure that our regulatory system – which has enabled a thriving locally focused broadcast system that is the envy of the world – is not undermined by the explosion of new technologies that were not foreseen even a mere decade ago. Accordingly, we urge you to refresh the aging, unclosed record from the 2014 proceeding by seeking new public comments to provide updated video marketplace information.”

If local TV stations win, it would dramatically change how the FCC regulates live TV streaming services. It would also force them to negotiate directly with the owners of local TV stations like Nexstar. If that change happens, Fubo, Hulu, and others wouldn’t be able to strike deals directly with Paramount for all CBS stations, for example. Instead, they will need to go to each individual owner of each local TV station. This is what cable TV companies have to do, and it is what live TV streaming services may have to do soon.

This comes as a growing number of local TV station owners have complained that streaming services are not paying enough for their channels. This could also drive up the cost of streaming services by forcing them to pay more to the FCC every year as cable TV companies.

For now, the FCC has not decided if it will look into changing streaming into a cable TV company. Though a growing number of groups, including local broadcasters and the National Association of Broadcasters, are asking them to do so.

The Senators that signed this letter include:


  • Ben Ray Luján
  • Richard Blumenthal
  • Raphael Warnock
  • Sherrod Brown
  • Peter Welch
  • Michael F. Bennet
  • Margaret Wood Hassan
  • Angus S. King, Jr.
  • Ron Wyden
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Jeanne Shaheen
  • Sheldon Whitehouse
  • Bernard Sanders
  • Tina Smith
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • Richard J. Durbin
  • Edward J. Markey
  • Chris Van Hollen
  • Jeffrey A. Merkley
  • Tammy Duckworth

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