A band of civil rights groups and media organizations including the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, The Hispanic Institute, Japanese Americans Citizens League, and Afroland TV sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission urging the agency to reject the idea of applying cable TV-style regulations on live streaming services like YouTube TV, Hulu With Live TV, and Fubo.
The FCC has started the process of looking at whether so-called virtual multichannel video programming distributors, which are the streaming versions of traditional cable providers, should also fall under the same regulations. The proceedings, known as an attempt to “refresh the record” with live streaming services, has already stirred up advocates and opponents to mobilize.
In July, a group of local TV station owners such as Nexstar and Gray Television formed a new Coalition for Local News to push the FCC to treat the cord cutting companies like cable TV providers. The rule change would force services like YouTube TV and Fubo to negotiate with each local station separately, rather than the existing system of negotiating with the big networks for a deal covering all stations. The group argues that individual negotiations would allow local stations to get fair value for their local reporting.
Later that month, YouTube TV, Fubo, Vidgo, Roku, Paramount, Disney, and NBC Universal came together to create the Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition to oppose the change. This group argues that applying old-style laws to the service would make the cost of carrying the channels to high, resulting in either higher subscription fees or blackouts from disputes.
The proceedings have also drawn in lawmakers, with some opposing and other supporting the change. Surprisingly, in both cases, the lawmakers were Democrats, showing this isn’t necessarily a partisan issue.
Last week, several groups banded together to file their own opposition to the proceedings and consideration to change the status quo.
“A handful of powerful legacy media businesses refer to this as ‘refreshing the record’ because that sounds better than what it actually is – a self-serving attempt to regulate new media competition and turn back the clock to the limited choices and high bills American households faced before online video services were available,” the letter said.
The FCC has decided in 2014 not to regulate this industry, allowing it to grow and thrive to what it is today. The group said that applying the old rules would curtail investment in this area.
“Imposing rules designed for the satellite and cable markets of the Twentieth Century on today’s dynamic and wildly competitive video market would put this progress at risk, undermine competition and choice, and drive up consumer costs,” it added.
This group won’t be the last to make their opinions known as the battle for the fate of live streaming services heats up.
Here’s a full list of the group:
- America NU
- The Burns Brothers
- ForUsByUs Network
- The Hispanic Institute
- Icon Talks
- Japanese Americans Citizens League
- The Latino Coalition
- National Action Network
- Rainbow PUSH Coalition
- Take Creative Control
- Tech Latino – Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology
- US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce