Advanced Television

Aereo seeks MPVD status

October 14, 2014

By Colin Mann

Internet OTT entertainment streaming service Aereo has formalised its desire to be considered an MPVD (Multichannel Video Programming Distributor)– i.e., a service licensable by the US’s Federal Communications Commission and as such liable to negotiate with broadcasters over content, or ‘retransmission’ fees, in contrast to its launch business model, which was based on the premiss that it was not liable for such payments.

Following a June 25 Supreme Court Ruling that Aereo had to pay broadcasters for taking television programmes from the airwaves and enabling subscribers to watch them on smartphones and other portable connected devices, Aereo suspended its operations June 28, and later sought recognition as a cable system with respect to its method of transmission and to licensed as such, paying appropriate fees, but was advised that it would be unable to pursue this argument in court, according to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, with procedural reasons requiring that it do so at the district court level.

The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering whether to extend regulations currently applicable for satellite television providers, cable companies and other ‘multichannel video providers’ to operations such as Aereo. It is understood that Aereo told the FCC it would be willing to accept such regulations.

In its FCC filing, said that online linear channel streaming services had the ability to comply with the Commission’s regulatory obligations imposed on MVPDs, such as programme carriage, emergency alerts, equal opportunity employment and closed captioning.

Aereo has filed the submission to seek regulatory clarity to move forward, according to company sources.

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