The streaming service titans have banded together to launch the Streaming Innovation Alliance, or SIA, the industry’s first unified coalition.
The trade group’s board includes big names like Netflix, Paramount’s Paramount+ and Pluto TV, Warner Bros. Discover’s Max, Comcast’s Peacock and Disney, which has Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, according to Axios. TelevisaUnivision, Univision’s ViX, the ForUsByUs Network, Vault and Afroland.tv also have seats on the board.
The group’s formation was reportedly helmed by Motion Picture Alliance CEO Charles Rivkin. The MPA represents Hollywood movie studios. SIA is led by former policymakers Republican Rep. Fred Upton and former Democratic Federal Communications Commission acting chair Mignon Clyburn, who are acting as senior advisers.
Apple, Amazon and several ad-supported streaming companies like Roku and Tubi are missing from the group, according to the report, but the coalition would welcome new members.
With the rise in popularity of cord cutting over the years, the streaming industry has increasingly faced calls for regulation from policy and lawmakers. Axios said SIA would ensure collective power in the face of regulatory threats and give streaming giants a unified voice in Washington.
For years, the Federal Communications Commission has been trying to get streaming services reclassified as cable TV companies. Earlier this month, the National Association of Broadcasters voiced its support in the effort to convince the FCC to place cable-style regulations on live-streaming services like YouTube TV, Fubo and Hulu.
Disney, Warner Bros. Discover and Fubo argued that subjecting streaming services to cable regulations would prevent them from negotiating separate deals with local stations. Instead, the companies would need to go directly to individual local TV station owners – a much lengthier process. In addition, placing cable regulations on streaming platforms would raise the prices of the services.
Many of the media companies have already banded together to create the Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition, which specifically opposes the efforts by the NAB and local broadcasters.
State governments have also tried to impose cable taxes on services like Netflix. Most recently, The Georgia Supreme Court denied a petition to review the state Court of Appeals’ March decision that cable law doesn’t apply to streaming services.
The creation of SIA will give streamers an organized collective voice as policy and lawmakers continue to navigate the digital era.