NeuLion leaderboard - 10-1-17

Analysis for 'Regulation'

  • VideoNuze Podcast #355: Millennials Go Cordless, Netflix Reality TV, YouTube Targeting and FCC’s Overhaul

    I’m pleased to present the 355th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we discuss four topics that caught our attention and we wrote about: research from GFK MRI that 30% of U.S. millennials are now “cordless” (here), Netflix’s move into reality TV programming (here); Google enabling YouTube ad targeting based on users’ searches (here) and the new chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai (here). We dig into all of these topics and discuss their implications.

    Listen in to learn more!
     
    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 49 seconds)



    Click here for previous podcasts

    Click here to add the podcast feed to your RSS reader.

    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today!

     
  • IBM Cloud Video - full banner - 7-7-17
  • Cable TV’s Quandary: While Brand Names Can Change Easily, Reputations Die Hard

    After a long and arduous regulatory review, earlier this week Charter Communications closed on its $55 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and its $10.4 billion acquisition of Bright House Networks. Following the closings, Charter plans to phase out the Time Warner Cable and Bright House brands, re-branding its entire new footprint Charter, with service name Spectrum.

    Many TWC subscribers will gladly bid adieu to a brand that has had one of the worst rankings, as measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, in an industry that itself endures rock bottom scores. Of course, simply changing a company’s name isn’t sufficient to effect real change; rather, it’s the underlying service that must tangibly improve, a point that Charter CEO Tom Rutledge clearly stated in this interview with Bloomberg.

    continue reading

     
  • NeuLion full banner - 10-1-17
  • Perspective What's this? Will The FCC Proposal To Unlock Set-Top Boxes Bring Change Or More Of The Same?

    FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is circulating a proposal that would “tear down anti-competitive barriers and pave the way for software, devices and other innovative solutions to compete with the set-top boxes that a majority of consumers must lease today.” The proposal is up for vote on February 18.
     
    According to the FCC, the set-top box (STB) business costs consumers $20B per year. The intent of the proposal is to open the market to competition, giving consumers the option to buy STBs from third-parties, presumably at a lower price.
     
    But we’ve seen this movie before – a few times, actually. Previous FCC mandates following similar proposals has resulted in the cable industry implementing CableCard, OpenCable (OCAP) and, most recently, Tru2Way. In all of these cases, the so-called solutions fell short in one way or another as the status quo prevailed.  This begs the question: can a new FCC-mandated approach be successful or does this movie have the same old ending? Let’s take a deeper look at what the FCC actually wants to accomplish, the proposed solutions and new approaches that could make this time different.

    continue reading

  • NeuLion full banner - 10-1-17
  • Roku's Hybrid Set-Top Underscores Folly of FCC's Latest Regulatory Move

    Late last week Roku announced it was developing a hybrid set-top box, expanding on the “Roku Powered” partner program it announced back in September, 2014. Roku’s hybrid set-top will give pay-TV operators a single, inexpensive device to deliver linear and OTT services. Variety also reported that Roku has raised an additional $45.5 million, bringing total funding to date to approximately $200 million.  

    Ironically (though perhaps not coincidentally), Roku’s hybrid set-top news came at the end of a week during which FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled a new regulatory initiative to “Unlock the Set-Top Box.” While his plan is light on details, it would essentially impose a new technology mandate on pay-TV operators to provide access to their programming to device manufacturers such that new interfaces and retail business models could be developed.

    continue reading

     
  • NeuLion full banner - 10-1-17
  • VideoNuze Podcast #262 - Candid Discussion of Net Neutrality's Risks

    I'm pleased to present the 262nd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. Today we candidly discuss the potential impact of the FCC's new net neutrality regulations.

    Over the past 20 years we've all benefited from a continuous improvement in wired and mobile broadband connectivity (albeit not perfectly consistent by geography or provider), fostered mainly by a "light touch" regulatory environment that spurred private sector ISPs to invest tens of billions of dollars in network upgrades. Content and services have flourished across both wired and mobile networks.

    Although I strongly believe we should continue to have an open Internet, and have no issue with rules that would have ensured that, I explain why using the 80 year-old Title II model to classify broadband as a utility was incorrect. Mainly I believe it will drive lots of litigation and create lots of regulatory uncertainty for broadband ISPs, which translates into disincentives to invest and further upgrade their networks. As a result, ongoing innovations in content and services, which rest on the foundation of broadband improvements, will inevitably be impacted.

    Further, I'm always wary of the risk of "unintended consequences" that accompany any new regulations. As such, preemptive regulation - such as yesterday's - where no fundamental problem even yet exists, makes me even more anxious. In short, my attitude is "don't fix what ain't broke."

    I fully recognize that I hold a minority opinion on this because I've discussed the topic with many people in the industry already. Colin disagrees with me, for example, because he believes the disincentive to invest argument is overblown. Unfortunately, I think the whole net neutrality debate has become so confused and politicized that any real purpose of potential government intervention has long since been lost.

    Listen in to learn more!



    Click here for previous podcasts

    Click here to add the podcast feed to your RSS reader.

    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today!

     
  • IBM Cloud Video - full banner - 7-7-17
  • VideoNuze Podcast #259 - Mobile Video's Growth, Debating Net Neutrality

    I'm pleased to present the 259th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week, we discuss mobile video's explosive growth. Cisco's new forecast puts mobile video's share of overall mobile traffic at 72% by 2019, up from 55% in 2014. Mobile video will account for 17.4 exabytes out of the 24.3 exabytes that cross global mobile networks in 2019. We dig into the contributing factors.

    Next up, this week saw the long-expected announcement from FCC chairman Tom Wheeler of net neutrality rules for broadband ISPs. The proposed reclassification to Title II follows President Obama's strong recommendation. While I agree that broadband is now a lifeline service, to me this still feels like a solution in search of a genuine problem. Colin disagrees and thinks Title II is the right move. We also discuss the prospects for approval of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger in light of the new regulations.

    Listen in to learn more!



    Click here for previous podcasts

    Click here to add the podcast feed to your RSS reader.

    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today!

     
  • VertaMedia - full banner - 4-3-17
  • Obama Proposes Regulating Broadband as a Utility

    This morning President Obama made his strongest endorsement yet for net neutrality, releasing a statement and video (see below) explicitly endorsing the reclassification of broadband services under Title II of the Communications Act, effectively regulating broadband as a utility (note, the change isn't Obama's to make, it's the FCC's, which is an independent agency).

    If the FCC did make the change it would be the most significant update to broadband regulatory policy since 2002 when broadband was classified under Title I as a lightly regulated "information service." The change to Title II would mean broadband ISPs would have to adhere to regulations dating back to 1934. In one bit of good news for ISPs, Obama specifically said rates should be excluded from Title II regulation (which means usage-based pricing could still be implemented). Any proposed change is guaranteed to be challenged in the courts by ISPs.

    continue reading

     
  • NeuLion full banner - 10-1-17
  • FCC's Proposed Broadening of Video Rules Seems Unlikely to Spur Major Market Change

    Yesterday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote in a blog post that he intends to start a rule making proceeding to broaden the definition of what a multichannel video programming distributor (an "MVPD," or more simply, a cable, satellite, telco operator that distributes bundles of cable and broadcast TV networks) is, to include companies that don't actually own their own delivery infrastructure. My weekly podcast partner Colin Dixon and I call these non-infrastructure companies virtual pay-TV operators, or "vPops" for short.

    This "technology-neutral" change would mean vPops using the Internet/broadband to deliver linear TV networks would also be considered MVPDs, therefore entitled to the same regulatory-mandated benefits. Wheeler characterized the move as being pro-consumer and pro-innovation and on the face of it, it definitely appears to be. But, digging deeper, it's not clear that this type of regulatory change would overcome actual market forces that will still determine the average viewer's video choices.

    continue reading

     
  • VertaMedia - full banner - 4-3-17
  • Why the Timing is Now Perfect for a Netflix-Comcast Partner Deal

    If your head is still spinning from last week's HBO/CBS/potential cord-cutting news, then buckle up, because here's another doozy that seems ripe to be right around the corner: a partnership deal between Netflix and Comcast. You heard that right - two companies that have been sniping at each for years now have a perfect moment to strike a partnership deal with significant upside to both.

    First, as far as the deal itself, it would roughly follow the template Netflix has already established with large pay-TV operators in Europe and smaller ones in the U.S. All those deals' details aren't known, but at a minimum they include operators integrating Netflix's app into their IP-based set-top boxes'/devices' UI, certain co-marketing arrangements, and some type of revenue sharing by Netflix (i.e. one-time new subscriber bounties and/or ongoing revenue sharing).

    continue reading

     
  • SHIFT Programmatic 17 Early Bird Full Banner
  • Net Neutrality in Focus If Verizon Launches OTT Pay-TV Service Using Intel Media Assets

    This morning Verizon finally made official what has been rumored for months - its acquisition of Intel Media's assets, including its OnCue and its IP-based TV set-top box. With the deal (plus other recent acquisitions of upLynk and EdgeCast), Verizon is now well-positioned to launch an over-the-top pay-TV service outside of its FiOS footprint.

    If and when it does so, then last week's net neutrality ruling takes on even higher importance, because incumbent cable operators/broadband ISPs would either have to allow Verizon's traffic through, unfettered, creating direct OTT competition for their core pay-TV services, or discriminate against Verizon, creating a perception of anti-competitiveness and no doubt, a PR firestorm.

    continue reading

     
  • SHIFT Programmatic 17 Early Bird Full Banner
  • Risk to Net Neutrality is Minimal Even Though FCC's Open Internet Has Been Overturned

    Earlier today the DC Court of Appeals threw out the FCC's Open Internet net neutrality rules. Net neutrality advocates are upset with the FCC for pursuing an illogical regulatory path from the start. They are deeply worried that now, unencumbered by net neutrality regulations, big broadband ISPs (which also happen to be the biggest pay-TV providers) will begin to discriminate against third-party online video services by shunting them to "slow lanes" and charging new delivery "tolls."

    I completely understand these concerns, but I for one don't envision any of this happening, at least not in the foreseeable future. Some of you are no doubt thinking - Will's naive, he's an idiot, he's a shill, etc. so let me explain.

    continue reading

     
  • SHIFT Programmatic 17 Early Bird Full Banner
  • Nielsen: 88% of Netflix and 70% of Hulu Plus Users Now Binge-Viewing

    Nielsen released additional data from its Q2 2013 Cross Platform report substantiating the trend toward "binge-viewing." Nielsen found that a whopping 88% of Netflix users and 70% of Hulu Plus users say they watch 3 or more episodes of the same show in one day.

    The Nielsen data is directionally in line with survey results that Piksel released last week showing 94% of respondents engage in some type of binge-viewing behavior, either watching episodes together as quickly as possible, watching 1 or 2 every few days, or some combination of the two behaviors.

    continue reading

     
  • SHIFT Programmatic 17 Early Bird Full Banner
  • Inside Retransmission Consent - Aereo's Biggest Threat to Broadcasters

    I'm pleased to share Howard Homonoff's second piece on Aereo today. The first was "Here Are Aereo's Legal, Policy and Business Paths Forward."  Howard is Principal/Managing Director of Homonoff Media Group LLC, a management consulting firm focused on traditional and digital media content distribution, social media analytics and regulatory strategy. He is a frequent industry speaker and producer/host of Media Reporter, starting soon on cable systems throughout New York City.

    Inside Retransmission Consent - Aereo’s Biggest Threat to Broadcasters
    by Howard Homonoff

    Technology startups, by definition, often challenge the status quo - striving to deliver products or services that are better, faster, and/or cheaper than existing approaches. Yet, given the long odds against startups’ success, incumbents don’t often go on the warpath against  startups in their space until the startup has at least demonstrated some genuine traction or ability to disrupt that status quo.

    In this context, the intense opposition to Aereo from the broadcast industry is unusual. Aereo has been deployed in just one market and hasn’t disclosed any metrics about customer adoption (unattributed numbers suggest negligible penetration to date). Yet broadcasters have launched vigorous litigation (thus far unsuccessful) and executives have  threatened to abandon their decades of traditional broadcast-based business models in favor of cable-based delivery if Aereo is ultimately deemed legal.

    Why is it that broadcasters are so up in arms about Aereo? The answer, I believe, is that Aereo directly challenges a concept known as retransmission consent. As a close observer of Aereo’s coverage, I’ve been struck by how little attention retransmission consent has received, and how little it seems to be understood.  Below I address 3 questions: What is retransmission consent? Why was retransmission consent originally created? Why is it viewed as so vital by the broadcast industry?

    continue reading

     
  • NeuLion full banner - 10-1-17
  • VideoNuze-TDG Report Podcast #137 - Debating DOJ's New Cable Investigation

    I'm pleased to be joined once again by Colin Dixon, senior partner at The Diffusion Group, for the 137th edition of the VideoNuze-TDG Report podcast.

    First up this week, Colin and I discuss this week's news that the Department of Justice is investigating whether cable TV companies are acting to suppress online video. As I wrote on Wednesday, it's good for the government to be vigilant, but for now anyway I don't believe online video providers or consumers are being impacted (rather I suggested if the DOJ wants to address a REAL way consumers are being harmed it should look into the multi-billion dollar per year subsidy non sports fans are forced to pay for expensive sports networks).

    Colin disagrees with me. As he's stated in the past, he believes the use of "private networks" to deliver video traffic to connected devices that doesn't count against data caps creates preferred broadband lanes and are inappropriate (Colin believes Comcast is doing this with its recent plan to deliver video services to the Xbox).

    Wrapping up, Colin shares observations from Cisco Live a big analyst event he attended earlier this week and I do some shameless plugging for next Tuesday's VideoNuze Online Video Advertising Summit.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 36 seconds)




    Click here for previous podcasts

    The VideoNuze-TDG Report podcast is available in iTunes...subscribe today!

     
  • IBM Cloud Video - full banner - 7-7-17
  • House Republicans' Assault on Net Neutrality Begins Next Week

    Republicans on Capitol Hill will start their long-stated attempts to overturn the FCC's net neutrality regulations next Wednesday, with the House Communications & Technology Subcommittee planning a hearing. House Republicans have made no secret of their scorn for the FCC's net neutrality regulations and seem committed to doing whatever's necessary to block them from taking effect. While I've often said that net neutrality is a solution in search of a problem, the FCC's rules are actually not very burdensome, and to the extent that broadband ISPs abide by them, it feels unlikely that they would be expanded any time soon. Still, Republicans view this as an overreach by the government. It will be interesting to see how strongly Senate Democrats and President Obama come to net neutrality's defense, given all the other things competing for their attention.
     
  • NeuLion full banner - 10-1-17
  • No Surprise, Ivi is Shut Down

    Broadcasters got a win this week as a U.S. District Court judge issued a preliminary injunction against Ivi, requiring the service be shut down. The decision comes as little surprise, as Ivi's claim to being a cable system, and therefore entitled to a compulsory license to rebroadcast TV networks, seemed specious from the start. Though Ivi vows to appeal the decision, casting itself as consumers' savior, there's little reason to believe we'll see Ivi - at least in its current form - back any time soon. Moral here: just because the Internet makes it possible to rebroadcast networks, that still doesn't make it legal.
     
  • VertaMedia - full banner - 4-3-17
  • Cable Industry Skirmishes With FCC Over Set-top Boxes

    Speaking of set-top boxes, the cable industry, through its NCTA lobbying arm, was skirmishing this week on yet another regulatory front, the FCC's ongoing "AllVid" inquiry, which would possibly crack open the customer premise equipment (CPE) by establishing an IP-based standard. Google, Sony and other CE companies are lobbying for AllVid as a way of streamlining delivery of over-the-top content into living rooms. Cable operators are arguing that such a move would compromise existing network licensing models. A more overarching concern is that a regulatory mandated approach would significantly level the playing field for new entrants to compete for consumers' attention.

    continue reading

     
  • NeuLion full banner - 10-1-17
  • Verizon Challenges Net Neutrality Regulations

    Yesterday Verizon appealed the FCC's new net neutrality regulations in the DC Court of Appeals, alleging that the FCC has exceeded its authority. The move is a little surprising given that last August Verizon seemed accepting of net neutrality, by submitting a joint net neutrality proposal with Google. What the two submitted and what the FCC eventually passed are different in a number of ways, but one way that they're similar is in the light regulatory touch granted to wireless Internet ISPs, which was a key focus of Verizon's given its massive wireless business. Even the treatment of wired ISPs wasn't terribly onerous, which is one of the reasons why a number of consumer advocacy organizations are also threatening a challenge to the FCC.

    Other than trying to subvert the FCC's authority generally, it's not entirely clear to me what Verizon's trying to accomplish here. One thing's for sure, Verizon will have plenty of help from Republicans who are also challenging net neutrality.
     
  • NeuLion full banner - 10-1-17
  • In Approving Comcast-NBCU, the FCC Blesses the Cable Model

    Reading yesterday's FCC press release approving the Comcast-NBCU transaction, my main reaction was that rather than using the opportunity to try to force fundamental changes in the core cable business model, the FCC, through its key conditions, instead essentially blessed it.

    Comcast - and by extension other pay-TV operators - must be delighted that their core packaging and pricing philosophies were basically untouched. Cable networks and studios should also be happy that their ability to monetize through the monthly affiliate model remained intact as was their flexibility to monetize online (mostly). As a result, the large ecosystem of participants in the video ecosystem (e.g. talent, production personnel, etc.) should also be happy that their economic well-being won't be disrupted. Lastly, investors in the pay-TV ecosystem should also be happy; it's always a good day when the government chooses not to meddle in markets that are working pretty nicely from investors' perspective.

    To get more specific, in the press release there are 7 key conditions under the heading, "Protecting the Development of Online Competition" that Comcast and/or Comcast/NBCU are required to follow. These relate to online video and I have listed them out below. After each one I have added my analysis/reactions.

    continue reading

     
  • SHIFT Programmatic 17 Early Bird Full Banner
  • 5 Items of Interest for the Week of Jan. 10th

    Even though I was very focused this week on the CES "takeaways" series, there was still plenty of news happening in the online and mobile video industries. So as in the past, I'm pleased to offer VideoNuze's end-of-week feature highlighting 5-6 interesting online/mobile video industry news items that we weren't able to cover this week. Enjoy!

    Level 3 fights on in Comcast traffic dispute
    Level 3 is showing no signs of relenting on its accusations that Comcast is unfairly trying to charge the CDN for Internet traffic it delivers to Comcast's network. In an interview this week, Level 3 said it may use the "Open Internet" provisions of the FCC's new network neutrality rules to press its case. Level 3's challenge is coming at the 11th hour of the FCC's approval process of the Comcast-NBCU deal; it's not really clear if Level 3 is having any impact on slowing the approval, which appears imminent.

    Comcast-NBCU deal challenged over online video proposal
    Speaking of challenges to the Comcast-NBCU deal, word emerged this week that Disney is voicing concern over the FCC's proposed deal condition that would force Comcast to offer NBC programming to any party that had concluded a deal with one of NBC's competitors for online distribution. The Disney concern appears to be that the condition would have an undue influence on how the online video market evolves and how Disney's own deals would be impacted. While the FCC should be setting conditions to the deal, the Disney concerns highlights how, in a nascent, fast-moving market like online video, government intervention can cause unintended side effects.

    YouTube is notching 200 million mobile video views/day
    As if on cue with my CES takeaway #3, that mobility is video's next frontier, YouTube revealed this week that it is now delivering 200 million mobile views per day, tripling its volume in 2010. That would equal about 6 billion views per month, which is remarkable. And that amount is poised to increase, as YouTube launched music video site VEVO for Android devices. YouTube clearly sees the revenue potential in all this mobile video activity; it also said that it would append a pre-roll ad in Android views for tens of thousands of content partners.

    Google creates video codec dust-up
    Google stirred up a hornet's nest this week by announcing that it was dropping support for the widely popular H.264 video codec in its Chrome browser, in favor of its own WebM codec, in an attempt to drive open standards. Though Chrome only represents about 10% market share among browsers (doubling in 2010 though), for these users, it means they'll need to use Flash to view non-WebM ended video. There are a lot of downstream implications of Google's move, but for space reasons, rather than enumerating them here, check out some of the great in-depth coverage the issue has received this week (here, here, here, here).

    Netflix usage drives up Canadian broadband bills
    An interesting test of Canadian Netflix streaming showed that a user there might have to pay an incremental $12/month under one ISP's consumption cap. That would be more than the $7.99/mo that the Netflix subscription itself costs, leading to potential cord-shaving behavior. This type of upcharge hasn't become an issue here in the U.S. because even ISPs that have caps have set them high relative to most users' current consumption. But if streaming skyrockets as many think it will, and the FCC allows usage-based billing, this could fast become a reality in the U.S. as well.


     
  • NeuLion full banner - 10-1-17
« Previous | Next »

Sample