The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology of the Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on Sept. 13 titled “Lights, Camera, Subscriptions: State of the Video Marketplace.” Read NRB’s letter to the subcommittee in advance of the hearing here. NRB’s public policy team was in the hearing room, and here are four things we think you should know.
No Mention of Religious Broadcasters
Many different programming sectors are affected by the current state of the video marketplace—but religious programming was not mentioned in this subcommittee hearing. Religious and other noncommercial educational programmers have a unique and important stake in the matter of modernizing MVPD classification.
No Mention of “Must-Carry”
The conversation on Sept. 13 focused solely on the retransmission consent, leaving any discussion of programmers who rely on must-carry rules for a later time. In NRB’s communications with lawmakers and policymakers on this issue, we emphasize the importance of must-carry rules for our television members.
Sports are the “Elephant in the Room”
Several lawmakers were agitated over blackouts and their impact on consumers, especially with regard to major sporting events. NAB President & CEO Curtis LeGeyt described sports rights as “the elephant in the room” in terms of the cost of providing this high-value content in the current regulatory environment and the potential for blackouts under the retransmission consent framework.
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) turned the focus to the state of programming for children. While broadcasters have historically been a trusted source for children’s programming, digital streaming services are not bound to the same standards as traditional formats and open the door for unsuitable content for children. Religious broadcasters are important to this aspect of the video marketplace discussion because of their important role in delivering wholesome, family-friendly content.
In case you missed it: Check out NRB’s recent article “State of Play: Will FCC Refresh the Record in MVPD Proceeding?“ for more.