Washington, D.C. — Today, a diverse group of programmers, content creators, civic groups and television providers launched the “Future of TV Coalition” to celebrate and promote the thriving innovation that is revolutionizing the video viewing experience – giving American audiences more and better choices than ever before of what, where, when and how to watch TV programming.
The Coalition’s 47 founding members – led by Co-Chairs Alfred Liggins, CEO of TV One, and Nomi Bergman, President of Bright House Networks – are united in the belief that innovation and competition should drive the creative marketplace, not government mandates that have the potential to undermine and impede the best TV market in the world.
With technology transforming the viewing experience, audiences are enjoying TV at home, on the go and using just about any device they want, from smartphones and tablets to laptops, game consoles, dedicated streaming devices, and smart TVs. Internet connectivity has unleashed an app-based world in which every connected device is also a TV.
In some places, viewers can access their entire pay-TV package over digital apps without even using a set-top box, a trend that will only accelerate. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently declared “the future of TV is apps,” and Internet giants ranging from Amazon to Netflix have launched apps giving consumers access to massive movie and TV libraries and high-quality original shows. Likewise, networks such as CBS, HBO and Showtime and sports leagues like Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and the National Basketball Association now offer stand-alone app-based streaming services that do not require a traditional pay-TV subscription at all.
A few large technology companies, however, want the FCC to replace this innovation with government regulation – often referred to as “AllVid.” AllVid would force programmers and TV providers to dismantle their shows and services for these companies to repackage, reuse, and exploit without negotiating for the rights like everybody else in the market does today. AllVid would not give viewers access to any new programming or content that isn’t already available in their homes and would not replace or lower their existing television bills. Moreover, it would increase the equipment in consumer homes by requiring a new “AllVid” adapter in the home to deliver programming to a set-top box or video device purchased at retail, further escalating consumer costs.
Many parties, including 30 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, have warned this would unravel the modern TV ecosystem, doing particular damage to small, independent, and diverse programmers and the communities they serve. AllVid would also undermine vital privacy and other consumer protections that apply to pay-TV providers but not the tech firms advocating adoption of AllVid. And it would erode protections against video piracy, rendering programming less secure.
Because of these and other technological, policy, and legal problems with the proposal, the FCC wisely declined to pursue AllVid in 2010. And since then, whatever rationale there was for this sweeping new mandate has only weakened as the market has rocketed forwarded with innovative new services, devices, and competitive choices. The AllVid idea makes far less sense and would do far more harm today after five years of such successful, rapid, pro-consumer changes that have delivered such substantial benefits to viewers.
Mr. Liggins explained the Future of TV’s mission: “We are joining together as people who make, deliver, and love great TV to make the case for smart policies that continue our march forward into the future – instead of dragging TV back into the past. The ‘AllVid’ proposal is a brazen money grab by Big Tech companies that would do severe damage to the programming ecosystem, and in particular, niche and minority-focused networks. Everyone who cares about quality, diverse television should let the FCC know that AllVid is a harmful non-starter.”
Ms. Bergman emphasized that AllVid would needlessly undermine a healthy and vital creative marketplace: “With all the change and disruption already taking place in TV, this may be the most competitive and exciting marketplace in America. Unprecedented innovation has given viewers more choices for services, devices, and programming than ever before. American consumers have never had more freedom to find and watch the shows they love in different ways – from a la carte, to smaller packages, to traditional or new Internet providers and above all the burgeoning marketplace for streaming devices and video apps. But AllVid would slam the brakes on this progress and harm consumers. It’s the ultimate example of the government trying to fix something that isn’t broken.”
For more information visit www.FutureofTV.com and follow the Future of TV Coalition @TV_Coalition.
About the Co-Chairs
Nomi M. Bergman is the President of Bright House Networks, the nation’s 6th largest cable operator serving approximately 2.5 million customers in five states. She has served on the Board of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers and is currently a member of the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council, a panel of industry experts tasked with helping the FCC develop informed technology policies.
Alfred C. Liggins III is the CEO of TV One, a digital cable and satellite network that serves 57 million households with a broad range of programming targeting an audience of Black viewers. Mr. Liggins is also the CEO and President of Radio One, which owns and/or operates 56 radio stations, and serves as the Vice Chairman of the Apollo Theater Foundation.
About the Future of TV Coalition
The Future of TV Coalition promotes market-based innovation that offers TV viewers an unprecedented volume of high-quality, diverse programming available on an expanding universe of devices and services, while opposing unnecessary technology mandates that would threaten this innovation and diversity.
Future of TV’s founding members are: American Cable Association (ACA), Armstrong Cable Services, ARRIS Group Inc., AT&T/DIRECTV, Atlantic Broadband, Blue Ridge Communications, Bright House Networks, Buckeye CableSystem, Cable One, Cablevision Systems Corporation, CenturyLink, Charter Communications, Cincinnati Bell, Cisco Systems Inc., Comcast Corporation, Consolidated Communications, Cox Communications, Crossings TV, DISH Network, Eagle Communications, Inc., EchoStar Technologies, Frontier Communications, General Communications Inc., Hargray Cable, ITTA - The Voice of Mid-Size Communications Companies, MCTV, Mediacom Communications, MetroCast Communications, Midcontinent Communications, Minority Business RoundTable (MBRT), Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL), National Congress of Black Women (NCBW), National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), National Organization of Black Elected Legislative (NOBEL) Women, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, NBCUniversal, Revolt, Service Electric Cablevision, Sjoberg’s Inc., Suddenlink Communications, TDS, Time Warner Cable, TV One, United States Telecom Association, Vyve Broadband, and WOW!