Coalition launches to preserve viewer choice in streaming era
July 28, 2023
By Colin Mann
Advocacy group Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition has been launched with support from founding members comprised of leading US media companies and streaming content providers including ABC, CBS, FOX, Fubo, NBC, Roku, Telemundo, Univision, and Warner Bros Discovery. The group will aim to protect consumer streaming choices and preserve a competitive online video marketplace.
Large station groups are pushing for FCC rule changes that would force online video providers and streaming platforms to negotiate with them for content that they do not own. These groups would revive a long-dormant FCC proceeding that provoked an overwhelmingly negative response during a comprehensive public consultation where commenters pointed to the potential harm to viewers, content creators, and local news providers. Their proposed rule changes would turn back the clock and force online video providers and streaming platforms to be regulated in the same way the cable industry of decades past was.
“In reality, these station group efforts are not about getting local TV content onto streaming platforms – that’s already happening. Rather, this is about trying to use government mandates to interfere with business negotiations,” said Bryce Harlow, spokesperson for the Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition. “Consumers deserve the freedom to access diverse video content and enjoy a wealth of choices, which is why we oppose proposed regulation that would threaten that choice, stem innovation, and increase the cost to consumers.”
With the rise of streaming, the video content marketplace has become increasingly diverse and competitive, offering consumers a wide range of options. From traditional cable to satellite to a variety of streaming services, accessing news, entertainment, and sports content is easier than ever.
Local TV stations benefit from this environment as they are able to negotiate with online video services and streaming platforms to carry their local content. Currently, hundreds of these stations from TV markets across the country are carried on streaming platforms, with more continuing to be added, ensuring access to local news and content for viewers on a variety of devices.
“Our goal is to protect consumer choice and the availability of local TV content on streaming platforms, and we believe that is exactly what the streaming marketplace provides today,” said Bryce Harlow, spokesperson for the Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition. “We want to embrace the future of content that streaming enables, not be dragged backward to a time when choice was limited, costs were high, and access was controlled by a handful of distributors. These regulations could eliminate options for streaming consumers and risk reducing the amount of local content available online today. We urge Congress and the FCC to refrain from unnecessary government regulation.”
The Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition will be engaged in a variety of advocacy efforts and will work with other stakeholders that prioritise consumer choice in the streaming marketplace.