FCC to Give Congress Report On Video Competition Next Month

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By Paul Barbagallo  


The Federal Communications Commission will issue its 15th annual report to Congress on the status of competition for video programming services in the United States at its July 19 open meeting, according to a tentative agenda released June 28 by the agency.

The report will probably be closely scrutinized by the pay-TV industry, because the FCC's 14th annual report did not conclude whether the FCC considered the marketplace competitive.

In that report, the agency found that cable multichannel video programming distributors (MVPD) accounted for almost 60 percent of all pay-TV subscriptions at the end of 2010, a slight decline in market share since the last report, in 2006. Meanwhile, the two major satellite providers, DirecTV and Dish Network, served 33 percent of all pay-TV subscribers in 2010, an increase in satellite's share since 2006, while telephone companies offering TV services had 6.9 million video subscribers as of the end of 2010, with Verizon Communications Inc. becoming the seventh-largest MVPD with 3.5 million subscribers and AT&T Inc. the ninth with 3 million subscribers, the report found. In all, telephone MVPDs accounted for 7 percent of all MVPD subscribers.

The FCC's 14th annual report also made notable mention of online video distributors (OVDs), which the agency acknowledges have emerged as “significant providers of video content.”

For the cable and satellite TV industry, a finding by the FCC that the video distribution market is sufficiently competitive could open the door to revisiting legacy regulations.

The agenda for the FCC's July 19 open meeting is available at http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-announces-tentative-agenda-july-open-meeting-0.