FCC Seeks Comment For The 15th Video Competition Report.
Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554In the Matter of
Annual Assessment of the Status of Competition in
MB Docket No. 12-203
the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming
NOTICE OF INQUIRY
Adopted: July 18, 2012
Released: July 20, 2012
Comment Date: September 10, 2012
Reply Comment Date: October 10, 2012
TABLE OF CONTENTSHeading
INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................................. 1
A. Scope of the Report.......................................................................................................................... 1
B. Analytic Framework ........................................................................................................................ 7
C. Data .................................................................................................................................................. 9
II. PROVIDERS OF DELIVERED VIDEO PROGRAMMING.............................................................. 11
A. Multichannel Video Programming Distributors............................................................................. 12
1. MVPD Structure...................................................................................................................... 12
2. MVPD Conduct ....................................................................................................................... 26
3. MVPD Performance ................................................................................................................ 33
B. Broadcast Television Stations........................................................................................................ 39
1. Broadcast Television Structure................................................................................................ 39
2. Broadcast Television Conduct................................................................................................. 45
3. Broadcast Television Performance.......................................................................................... 53
C. Online Video Distributors.............................................................................................................. 59
1. OVD Structure......................................................................................................................... 59
2. OVD Conduct.......................................................................................................................... 64
3. OVD Performance ................................................................................................................... 69
III. RURAL VERSUS URBAN COMPARISON ...................................................................................... 72
IV. KEY INDUSTRY INPUTS.................................................................................................................. 75
A. Video Content Creators and Aggregators ...................................................................................... 75
B. Consumer Premises Equipment ..................................................................................................... 77
V. CONSUMER BEHAVIOR .................................................................................................................. 82
VI. PROCEDURAL MATTERS................................................................................................................ 84
Federal Communications Commission
Scope of the Report1.
This Notice of Inquiry (“Notice”) solicits data, information, and comment on the state of
competition in the delivery of video programming for the Commission’s Fifteenth Report (“15th Report”).
We seek to update the information and metrics provided in the Fourteenth Report (“14th Report”)1 and
report on the state of competition in the video marketplace in 2011 and 2012. Using the information
collected pursuant to this Notice, we seek to enhance our analysis of competitive conditions, better
understand the implications for the American consumer, and provide a solid foundation for Commission
policy making with respect to the delivery of video programming to consumers.
Section 19 of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992
(“1992 Cable Act”) amended the Communications Act of 19342 and established regulations for the
purpose of increasing competition and diversity in multichannel video programming distribution,
increasing the availability of satellite delivered programming, and spurring the development of
communications technologies.3 To measure progress toward these goals, Congress required the
Commission to report annually on “the status of competition in the market for the delivery of video
In 1992, when Congress required the Commission to report annually on the status of
competition in the market for the delivery of video programming, most consumers had the limited choice
of receiving over-the-air broadcast television stations or subscribing to service from their local cable
provider.5 As the 1990s progressed, cable overbuilders and the introduction of direct broadcast satellite
(“DBS”) service provided additional alternatives for delivered video programming, introducing
competition into multichannel video programming distribution (“MVPD”).6 Today, DBS provides video
1 Annual Assessment for the Status of Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming, MB
Docket No. 07-269, Fourteenth Report, FCC 12-81 (rel. July 20, 2012) (“14th Report”).
2 1992 Cable Act, Pub. L. No. 102-385, 106 Stat. 1460, 1494 (1992) (“The purpose of this section is to promote the
public interest, convenience, and necessity by increasing competition and diversity in the multichannel video
programming market, to increase the availability of satellite cable programming and satellite broadcast
programming to persons in rural and other areas not currently able to receive such programming, and to spur the
development of communications technologies.”).
3 Video programming is defined as: “Programming provided by, or generally considered comparable to
programming provided by, a television broadcast station that is distributed and is exhibited for residential use.” 47
U.S.C. §522(20); 47 C.F.R. § 79.1(a)(1).
4 Section 628(g) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 548(g). The Commission’s previous
reports appear at: Implementation of Section 19 of the 1992 Cable Act (Annual Assessment of the Status of
Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming, 9 FCC Rcd 7442 (1994) (“First Report”); 11 FCC
Rcd 2060 (1996) (“Second Report”); 12 FCC Rcd 4358 (1997) (“Third Report”); 13 FCC Rcd 1034 (1998) (“Fourth
Report”); 13 FCC Rcd 24284 (1998) (“Fifth Report”); 15 FCC Rcd 978 (2000) (“Sixth Report”); 16 FCC Rcd 6005
(2001) (“Seventh Report”); 17 FCC Rcd 1244 (2002) (“Eighth Report”); 17 FCC Rcd 26901 (2002) (“Ninth
Report”); 19 FCC Rcd 1606 (2004) (“Tenth Report”); 20 FCC Rcd 2755 (2005) (“11th Report”); 21 FCC Rcd 2503
(2006) (“12th Report”); 24 FCC Rcd 542 (2007) (“13th Report”).
5 In most areas, consumers had only one choice of cable provider, although cable overbuilders offered another
option in some areas. See Tenth Report, 19 FCC Rcd at 1659, ¶ 79.
6 Section 602 (13) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, defines a multichannel video programming
distributor (“MVPD”) as “a person such as, but not limited to, a cable operator, a multichannel multipoint
distribution service, a direct broadcast satellite service, or a television receive-only satellite program distributor, who
makes available for purchase, by subscribers or customers, multiple channels of video programming.” 47 U.S.C.
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80programming to over 33.9 million subscribers, and cable offers video service to approximately 58 million
subscribers.7 Major telephony providers, Verizon and AT&T, have steadily increased their respective
multichannel video services since their inception in 2005 and 2006, respectively.8 Today, these entities
provide video programming to a total of approximately 8.0 million subscribers.9 The increasing
availability of video content over the Internet, made available by online video distributors (“OVDs”),
further expands consumer choice.10
In the 14th Report, we adopted a number of changes to our analytic framework in an
effort to be consistent with the framework used in recent wireless and satellite competition reports.11
Under this new framework, we placed entities into one of three strategic groups – MVPDs, broadcast
television stations, and OVDs. Within each of these categories, we addressed industry structure, conduct,
and performance. The 14th Report also examined key industry inputs that may impact the market for the
delivery of video programming, including the creators and aggregators of video programming,
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§ 522(13). The Media Bureau issued a Public Notice seeking comment on the interpretation of the terms “MVPD”
and “channel,” and whether an entity must also provide its subscribers a transmission path to qualify under the
statutory definition. Media Bureau Seeks Comment On Interpretation of the Terms “Multichannel Video
Programming Distributor” and “Channel” as Raised in Pending Program Access Complaint Proceeding, MB
Docket No. 12-83, Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd 3079 (MB 2012).
7 Multichannel Market Trends, SNL KAGAN, Mar. 13, 2012,
at http://www.snl.com/interactivex/articles.aspx?id=14413841&KPLT=6 (visited Apr. 11, 2012).
8 See Verizon Communications Inc., Verizon FiOS TV is Here! (press release), Sept. 22, 2005 (announcing the
unveiling of FiOS TV service in Keller, TX, its first market); AT&T Inc., AT&T Delivers Strong Second-Quarter
Earnings Growth Driven by Merger Integration Progress, Solid Wireline Execution, Advances at Cingular Wireless
(press release), July 25, 2006 (announcing expansion of its U-verse video service in San Antonio to additional
neighborhoods and plans to expand U-verse video service to additional markets late in 2006). We note that in
addition to Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse, some rural telephone companies also offer video services using their
broadband infrastructure. See 14th Report ¶ 346.
9 AT&T Inc., Annual Report for the Year Ended December 31, 2011, at 38; Verizon Communications Inc., Annual
Report for the Year Ended December 31, 2011, at 3.
10 An “OVD” is any entity that offers video content by means of the Internet or other Internet Protocol (IP)-based
transmission path provided by a person or entity other than the OVD. An OVD does not include an MVPD inside
its MVPD footprint or an MVPD to the extent it is offering online video content as a component of an MVPD
subscription to customers whose homes are inside its MVPD footprint. See Application of Comcast Corporation,
General Electric Company and NBC Universal, Inc. for Consent to Assign Licenses and Transfer Control of
Licenses, MB Docket No. 10-56, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 4238, 4358, App. A (2011)
(“Comcast-NBCU Order”). Consumers need a broadband connection to receive video content from OVDs. The
issue of whether a certain type of OVD also qualifies as an MVPD under the Act and our regulations has been raised
in pending program access complaint proceedings. See, e.g., Sky Angel U.S., LLC v. Discovery Communications
LLC, et al., Program Access Complaint (Mar. 24, 2010). Nothing in this Notice should be read to state or imply our
determination on that issue. See also 14th Report ¶ 237.
11 See Implementation of Section 6002(b) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 and Annual Report and
Analysis of Competitive Market Conditions With Respect to Mobile Wireless, Including Commercial Mobile
Services, WT Docket No. 10-133, Fifteenth Report, 26 FCC Rcd 9664 (2011) (“15th Mobile Wireless Report”);
Third Report and Analysis of Competitive Market Conditions with Respect to Domestic and International Satellite
Communications Services, Report and Analysis of Competitive Market Conditions with Respect Domestic and
International Satellite Communications Services, IB Docket Nos. 09-16 and 10-99, 26 FCC Rcd 17284 (2011)
(“Third Satellite Competition Report”).
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80distribution strategies for video, and consumer premises equipment. In addition, we compared video
programming competition in rural and urban areas for each of the three strategic groups.
We invite all interested parties to provide input for the 15th Report. We seek to collect
data to gain further insight into such areas as the deployment of new technologies and services, as well as
innovation and investment in the video marketplace. The entry of each new delivery technology provides
consumers with increasing options in obtaining video content. We therefore request comment on industry
structure, market conduct and performance, consumer behavior, urban-rural comparisons, and key
industry inputs for video programming. To the extent possible, we request commenters to provide
information and insights on competition using this framework.
In particular, we request data, information, and comment from entities that provide
delivered video programming directly to consumers. These entities include MVPDs, broadcast television
stations, and OVDs. We also seek data, information, and comment from entities that provide key inputs
into video programming distribution. These include content creators and aggregators as well as
manufacturers of consumer premises equipment, including equipment that enables consumers to view
programming on their television sets and on other devices (e.g., smartphones and tablets). In addition, we
request data, information, and comment from consumers and consumer groups. The accuracy and
usefulness of the 15th Report will depend on the quality of the data and information we receive from
commenters in response to this Notice. We encourage thorough and substantive submissions from
industry participants, as well as state and local regulators with knowledge of the issues raised. When
possible, we will augment reported information with submissions in other Commission proceedings and
from publicly available sources.
Under the analytic framework adopted in the 14th Report, first we categorize entities that
deliver video programming into one of three groups: MVPDs, broadcast television stations,12 or OVDs.
Entities delivering video content are assigned to these strategic groups based on similar business models
or combination strategies.13 Second, we examine industry structure, conduct, and performance,
considering factors such as:
12 We expect to consider broadcast television stations separately for the 15 th Report, as we have done in previous
reports. Although broadcasters have transitioned to digital transmission and have the capability to offer additional
linear channels, they still offer far fewer programs than are available from MVPDs and do not provide a subscription
service. The Commission has previously held that broadcast television alone is not sufficiently substitutable with
the services provided by MVPDs to constrain attempted MVPD price increases, and hence declined to broaden the
MVPD product market. Accordingly, we treat broadcasters as part of a separate group. See General Motors
Corporation and Hughes Electronics Corporation, Transferors, and The News Corporation Limited, Transferee,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 19 FCC Rcd 473, 509 ¶ 75 (2004) (citing Competition, Rate Deregulation, and
the Commission’s Policies Relating to the Provision of Cable Television Services, Report, 5 FCC Rcd 4962, 5003, ¶
69 (1990)); Application of EchoStar Communications Corporation, General Motors Corporation, and Hughes
Electronics Corporation (Transferors) and EchoStar Communications Corporation (Transferee), Hearing
Designation Order, 17 FCC Rcd 20559, 20607-09, ¶¶ 109-115 (2002).
13 As we did for the 14th Report, we assign entities that deliver video content to one of three groups based on the
“strategic group” concept used in strategic management that groups companies within an industry that have similar
business models or similar combinations of strategies. See Michael E. Porter, COMPETITIVE STRATEGY:
TECHNIQUES FOR ANALYZING INDUSTRIES AND COMPETITORS 129-155 (Free Press) (1980). The three groups also
may be said to represent the historical development of delivered video where consumers initially had access to over-
the-air broadcast television, then a growing number of MVPDs, and most recently the Internet. Our placement of
Federal Communications Commission
Structure: The number and size of firms in each group, horizontal and vertical
integration, merger and acquisition activity, and conditions affecting entry and the ability to compete.
Conduct: The business models and competitive strategies used by firms that directly
compete as video programming distributors, including product differentiation, advertising and marketing,
Performance: The improvements in the quantity, quality, and delivery methods of
programming to subscribers, subscriber and penetration rates, financial indicators (e.g., revenue and
profitability), and investment and innovation activities.
Third, we look upstream and downstream to examine the influence of industry inputs and consumer
behavior on the delivery of video programming. In the 14th Report, we discussed two key industry inputs:
video content creators and aggregators and consumer premises equipment.14
We seek comment on whether the analytic framework adopted in the 14th Report is a
useful way for the Commission to evaluate and report on the status of video programming competition or
whether modifications are needed for the 15th Report. Do the three strategic group classifications allow
us to adequately assess the interaction across these groups? Are an entity’s business incentives or
competitive concerns affected by operating in more than one group? How does the placement of entities
into strategic groups affect by their ability to offer multiple services (i.e., video, voice and broadband)?
What influence do industry structure, conduct, and performance have on one another?
The data reported in previous reports on the status of competition for the delivery of
video programming were derived from various sources, including data the Commission collects in other
contexts (e.g., FCC Form 477 and FCC Form 325),15 comments filed in response to notices of inquiry and
other Commission proceedings; publicly available information from industry associations; company
filings and news releases; Security and Exchange Commission filings; data from trade associations and
government entities; data from securities analysts and other research companies and consultants; company
news releases and websites; corporate presentations to investors, newspaper and periodical articles;
scholarly publications; vendor product releases; white papers; and various public Commission filings,
decisions, reports, and data. We seek comment on whether there are additional data sources available for
our analysis. What other sources of data, especially quantitative data, should we use to perform a
comprehensive analysis of the market for the delivery of video programming? Are there certain
stakeholders we should reach out to in order to diversify the data and further supplement the record?
In previous Notices of Inquiry, we have requested data as of June 30 of the relevant year
to monitor trends on an annual basis.16 To continue our time-series analysis, we request data as of June
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delivered video providers into one of three groups is an organizational convenience to facilitate discussion. See 14th
Report ¶ 15 n.19.
14 As described more fully below in Section IV, content creators are firms that produce video programming and
content aggregators are entities that assemble packages of video programming for distribution by MVPDs,
broadcasters, and OVDs.
15 FCC Form 477 collects information about broadband connections to end user locations, wired and wireless local
telephone services, and interconnected Voice over IP services, in individual states. FCC Form 325 is the Cable
Television System Report that collects information about cable television systems.
16 See, e.g., Annual Assessment of the Status of Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming,
MB Docket No. 07-269, Notice of Inquiry, 24 FCC Rcd 750, 751, ¶ 2 (2009); Annual Assessment of the Status of
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-8030, 2011, and June 30, 2012. We also recognize that a significant amount of data and information are
reported on a calendar year basis, and as such, we ask commenters to provide year-end 2011 data when
readily available and relevant.
PROVIDERS OF DELIVERED VIDEO PROGRAMMING11.
In this section, we seek information and comment that will allow us to analyze the
structure, conduct, and performance of MVPDs, broadcast television stations, and OVDs. To improve
our description and analysis of the video products within each group, we seek specific and granular
quantitative and qualitative data as well as information from companies in each group. In addition, we
request comment from the perspective of consumers, advertisers, content aggregators, content creators,
and/or consumer premises equipment manufacturers on whether and to what extent MVPDs, broadcast
stations, and OVDs consider the other two groups’ offerings to be complements and/or substitutes for one
Multichannel Video Programming Distributors1.
MVPDs include all entities that make available for purchase multiple channels of video
programming.17 In our 14th Report, we determined that most MVPD subscribers use cable, DBS, or
telephone MVPDs for their video service.18 Fewer than one percent of MVPD subscribers use other types
of MVPDs (e.g., home satellite dishes (“HSD”), open video systems (“OVS”), wireless cable systems,19
and private cable operators (“PCOs”)20). We also found that little reliable data is available for these other
types of MVPDs.21 We request comment on the extent to which these other types of MVPDs should be
included in the 15th Report.
For each type of MVPD, we seek data on the number of MVPD providers, the number of
homes passed, the number of subscribers for delivered video programming, the number of linear channels
and amount of non-linear programming offered,22 the ability of subscribers to watch programming on
multiple devices, and the geographic area in which individual providers offer service. In addition, we
seek comment on the most appropriate unit of measurement for assessing geographic coverage. We note
that different types of MVPDs may report data regarding availability and use that is not standardized to a
common geographic unit. This greatly hinders our ability to assess the competitive alternatives available
to homes and to identify where MVPDs are engaged in head-to-head competition. In the 14th Report, we
addressed this concern in the context of estimating the number of homes with access to multiple
(...continued from previous page)
Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming, MB Docket No. 06-189, Notice of Inquiry, 21
FCC Rcd 12229, 12230, ¶ 2 (2006); Annual Assessment of the Status of Competition in the Market for the Delivery
of Video Programming, MB Docket No. 05-255, Notice of Inquiry, 20 FCC Rcd 1117, 1118, ¶ 2 (2005).
17 See supra note 6 (defining an MVPD).
18 14th Report ¶¶ 26-34.
19 Wireless cable systems use the Broadband Radio Service (“BRS”) and Educational Broadband Service (“EBS”) to
transmit video programming to consumers.
20 Private cable operators were formerly known as satellite master antenna (“SMATV”) systems.
21 14th Report ¶ 35.
22 A linear channel is one that distributes programming at a scheduled time. Non-linear programming, such as
video-on-demand (“VOD”) and online video content, is available at a time of the viewer’s choosing.
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80MVPDs.23 We therefore seek data and information on the number of homes that are passed by one
MVPD, two MVPDs, and three or more MVPDs. We wish to identify those markets and geographic
areas where head-to-head competition exists, where entry is likely in the near future, and where
competition once existed but failed. What factors influence a subscriber’s decision to switch from one
type of MVPD service to another, for instance from cable MVPD service to DBS MVPD service or vice
We request information identifying differences between cable, DBS, and telephone
MVPD subscribers. Are DBS subscribers more likely to reside in rural areas or areas not served by cable
systems? What percentage of homes cannot receive DBS service because they are not within the line-of-
site of the satellite signal? In addition, we request updated information on the number of markets where
DBS operators provide local-into-local broadcast service. Particular MVPD providers offer bundles of
multiple services, including broadband, voice, and mobile wireless services. How, if at all, do these
bundled offerings affect competition? For example, what affect, if any, does the inability of DBS
operators to directly provide broadband, voice, and mobile wireless services along with their video
service have on competition among and the financial performance of MVPDs?
With respect to non-contiguous states, do DBS MVPDs offer the same video packages at
the same prices in Alaska and Hawaii as they offer in the 48 contiguous states? Do subscribers need
different or additional equipment to receive video services in these states?
We seek comment on other MVPDs such as HSD24 and PCOs.25 Are these technologies
still relevant today? If so, how are they relevant and to what extent are they available?
The Commission has not addressed the extent to which wireless providers offering video
programming to mobile phones and other wireless devices should be classified as MVPDs under the Act,
and we do not intend to do so within the context of this proceeding. We note that, in past reports, the
Commission considered certain of these providers in its analysis of video competition.26 For the 15th
Report, we request information on the extent to which mobile wireless providers continue to offer video
23 14th Report ¶ 40 & Table 2.
24 In HSD, subscribers use a large dish and receive signals transmitted by satellites operating in the C- and Ku-band
frequencies. HSD channels may be transmitted either as clear channels, available for free reception, or as scrambled
signals. To receive scrambled channels, a household must purchase an integrated receiver-decoder and pay a
subscription fee. HSD systems are typically designed to receive programming from several different satellites at
several different orbital locations. Most HSDs include motors that permit the receiving dishes to rotate and receive
signals from these many satellites. Space considerations and zoning regulations restrict many viewers’ ability to
install the large antenna needed for HSD reception, typically ranging from 4 to 8 feet in diameter. 13th Report, 24
FCC Rcd at 588-589, ¶ 93. Today, few entities offer a HSD subscription service. 14th Report ¶ 35.
25 PCOs collect video signals using satellite master antenna systems and distribute programming via wiring in
apartments, condominiums, hotels, and office buildings. PCOs do not use any public rights-of-way. 47 U.S.C.
§ 522(7). In addition, PCOs and SMATV operators: (a) do not pay franchise and Federal Communications
Commission subscriber fees; (b) are not obligated to pass every resident in a given area; (c) are not subject to rate
regulation; and (d) are not subject to must carry and local government access obligations. Fourth Report, 13 FCC
Rcd at 1085, n.296. In the 14th Report, we found that PCOs accounted for the majority of alternative MVPD
subscribers in 2011, with approximately 650,000 subscribers. This represents a decline from 900,000 subscribers in
2006. 14th Report ¶ 35.
26 In the past, mobile wireless service providers offered a range of video programming services to their customers.
See 13th Report, 24 FCC Rcd at 610-612, ¶¶ 142-149; Implementation of Section 6002(b) of the Omnibus Budget
Reconciliation Act of 1993, Annual Report and Analysis of Competitive Market Conditions with Respect to
Commercial Mobile Services, Thirteenth Report, 24 FCC Rcd 6185, 6203-04, ¶¶ 24-26 (2009).
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80programming to their customers. How has this changed during 2011 and the first half of 2012, and what
are the reasons for such changes? How and to what extent do mobile wireless providers and MVPDs use
wireless technologies, including Wi-Fi and wireless broadband, to provide video programming today, and
what trends should we anticipate for the future? How do these services compete with or complement the
traditional video programming services offered by MVPDs and by other providers of video
Horizontal Concentration. In the 14th Report, we did not directly measure horizontal
concentration for video distribution. Rather, we estimated the number of homes on a nationwide basis
that have access to two, three, or four MVPDs.27 We seek comment on the value of our approach. We
also seek data or comment on what information we can acquire to assist us in performing this analysis.
Likewise, we invite analysis regarding the relationship between horizontal concentration and competition.
To what extent does horizontal concentration affect price or quality of service?
In merger reviews, the Commission routinely examines horizontal concentration. It has
classified MVPD service as a distinct product market and found individual homes to be the appropriate
focus regarding competitive choices.28 In the 15th Mobile Wireless Report, the Commission applied the
Herfindahl-Hirshman Index (“HHI”) to shares of mobile wireless connections held by facilities-based
wireless providers at the level of Economic Areas, calculating shares of connections from the providers’
number of connections.29 These Economic Areas are compiled based on census block data. For purposes
of the 15th Report, we seek comment on the appropriate methodology for calculating concentration in
delivered video services. Should we continue to consider MVPDs a separate product market,30 or are
there narrower or broader product segments we should consider? What are the appropriate geographic
markets associated with these product markets (e.g., individual households, census tracts, or cable
Vertical Integration. In 1992, Congress enacted provisions related to common ownership
between cable operators and video programming networks.31 In the 14th Report, we discussed vertical
integration in terms of affiliations between programming networks and MVPDs. Specifically, we
identified the number of national video programming networks affiliated with one or more MVPDs.32
Similarly, we reported on regional programming networks affiliated with MVPDs.33 We also
27 14th Report ¶ 40.
28 See Applications of Comcast Corp., General Electric Co. and NBC Universal, Inc., MB Docket No. 10-56,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 4238, 4255-57, ¶¶ 40, 42 (2011) (“Comcast-NBCU Order”);
Application for Consent to the Assignment and/or Transfer of Control of Licenses, Adelphia Communications
Corporation, Assignors, to Time Warner Cable Inc., Assignees; Adelphia Communications Corporation, Assignors
and Transferors, to Comcast Corporation, Assignees and Transferees; Comcast Corporation, Transferor, to Time
Warner Inc., Transferee; Time Warner Inc., Transferor, to Comcast Corporation, Transferee, MB Docket No. 05-
192, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 21 FCC Rcd 8203, 8235, ¶¶ 63-64 (2006).
29 15th Mobile Wireless Report, 26 FCC Rcd at 9708, ¶ 49.
30 In past reports, the Commission has considered MVPDs to be a distinct product market. See, e.g., 14th Report
¶¶ 18-24; 13th Report, 24 FCC Rcd at 545, ¶ 5.
31 47 U.S.C. § 533.
32 See 14th Report ¶¶ 42-45. See also 14th Report, App. B, Table B-1.
33 See 14th Report, App. C, Table C-1.
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80differentiated between the availability of standard definition (“SD”) and high definition (“HD”) versions
of individual networks consistent with recent Commission decisions.34
We anticipate reporting this type of information again in the 15th Report. We therefore
request data, information, and comment on vertical integration between MVPDs and video programming
networks. In particular, we request information on satellite and terrestrially delivered national and
regional networks.35 How should we measure such vertical integration? For purposes of analyzing
vertical integration, how should we determine affiliation? Should we use a minimum ownership share or
apply standards similar to those contained in our attribution rules rather than report on any known
affiliations as we have done in the past?
Conditions Affecting Entry and Rivalry.36 Underlying regulatory, technological, and
market conditions affect market structure and influence the total number of firms that can compete
successfully in the market. We invite comments and information regarding the conditions that affect the
entry into MVPD markets and rivalry among MVPDs.
Regulations Affecting Entry and Rivalry. A number of provisions of the Communications
Act and the Commission’s rules affect MVPD operators in the market for the delivery of video
programming. These include, for example, regulations governing program access,37 program carriage,38
must carry,39 retransmission consent,40 franchising,41 effective competition,42 access to multiple dwelling
units,43 exclusivity,44 inside wiring,45 leased access,46 ownership,47 over-the-air reception devices,48 and
34 See, e.g., Review of Commission’s Program Access Rules and Examination of Programming Tying Arrangements,
MB Docket No. 07-198, First Report and Order, 25 FCC Rcd 746, 785, ¶ 55 (2010) (“2010 Program Access
Order”), aff’d in part and vacated in part sub nom. Cablevision Systems Corp. et al. v FCC, 649 F.3d 695 (D.C. Cir.
35 See generally 2010 Program Access Order. The Commission defines satellite-delivered programming as
programming delivered to MVPDs via satellite. Similarly, terrestrially delivered programming is defined as
programming delivered to MVPDs via terrestrial means, such as programming transmitted to MVPDs by fiber. See
id. at 748-49, ¶¶ 4, 5. National networks are distributed throughout the entire country (e.g., CNN, Discovery
Channel, and HBO); regional networks are only provided in certain geographic areas (e.g., Comcast SportsNet
Philadelphia and Arizona News Channel).
36 By rivalry, we mean competition among participants in the same product and geographic market. Although a
consumer typically selects one MVPD, the rivalry among MVPD firms for that consumer does not end because the
consumer can switch MVPDs where more than one is available.
37 47 U.S.C. § 548; 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.1001-04.
38 47 U.S.C. § 536; 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.1301-02.
39 47 U.S.C. §§ 534-35; 47 C.F.R. § 76.56.
40 47 U.S.C. § 525(b); 47 C.F.R. § 76.64.
41 47 U.S.C. § 541; 47 C.F.R. § 76.41.
42 47 U.S.C. § 543(a)(2); 47 C.F.R. § 76.905(b).
43 47 C.F.R. § 76.2000.
44 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.92, 76.101, 76.111.
45 47 U.S.C. § 544(i); 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.801-06.
46 47 U.S.C. § 532; 47 C.F.R. § 76.701.
47 47 U.S.C. § 533(f); 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.501, 76.503-04.
48 47 U.S.C. § 303 note; 47 C.F.R. § 1.4000.
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80public interest programming.49 We seek comment on the impact of these regulations and other
Commission rules on entry and rivalry among MVPDs. Are MVPDs identifying the costs attributed to
any of these regulations (e.g., retransmission consent) on the bills of their subscribers?
We also request data on the number of channels MVPDs dedicate on their respective
systems to must-carry; public, educational, and governmental (“PEG”); and leased access programming.
On which tier are these channels placed and is extra equipment required to view them? Are there more or
fewer PEG and leased access channels carried on MVPD systems than were carried as of June 2010?
What data sources exist to track the availability of PEG and leased access programming? We recognize
that the regulations applicable to cable operators may differ from the regulations applicable to DBS
systems and other MVPD operators. How do regulatory disparities affect MVPD rivalry? We also solicit
comment on specific actions the Commission can take to facilitate MVPD entry and rivalry with the
intent to increase consumer choice in the delivery of video programming. In addition, we request
comment on any state or local regulations that affect entry and rivalry among MVPDs.
Non-Regulatory Conditions Affecting Entry and Rivalry. We seek information and
comment on non-regulatory conditions affecting MVPD entry and rivalry, including the availability of
programming. Do these conditions include economies of scale, where large MVPDs can spread fixed
costs over more subscribers or negotiate lower prices for video content? Do these conditions also include
expected retaliation, where potential MVPD entrants believe incumbents will lower prices to any home
considering switching to the new MVPD entrant? What other non-regulatory conditions influence MVPD
entry and rivalry?
Business Models and Competitive Strategies. MVPDs may choose from a variety of
business models and competitive strategies to attract and retain subscribers and viewers. MVPDs decide,
for example, the type of delivered video services they will offer, the programming they offer consumers,
and how they package the programming (i.e., the number of tiers of video programming and the specific
programming carried on each tier); the complementary product features they will offer (e.g., HD, DVR
(digital video recorder), video-on-demand (“VOD”), online video programming to PCs and mobile
devices, and bundled services where telephony and/or broadband is packaged with video service).
MVPDs also decide the level of advertising, the degree of vertical integration with suppliers of video
programming, whether to initiate or respond to price discounting, and their approach to customer service.
We seek descriptions of the varied business models and strategies used by MVPDs for
the delivery of video programming. What are key differences among the business models and strategies
in terms of services offered to consumers? How do providers distinguish their delivered video services
from their rivals? Do cable, DBS, and telephone MVPDs offer comparable video services? Does DBS
“local-into-local” delivery of broadcast television signals make it a closer substitute for cable than it
would be otherwise? We note that content creators have negotiated “TV Everywhere” agreements50 in
49 A franchising authority may require a cable operator to use channel capacity for public, educational, or
governmental (PEG) use. 47 U.S.C. §§ 531, 541(a)(4)(B). DBS operators are required to reserve 4 percent of their
channel capacity for noncommercial programming of an educational or informational nature. 47 U.S.C.
§ 335(b)(1)(A); 47 C.F.R. § 25.701(f).
50 “TV Everywhere” is an initiative, which allows subscribers of certain MVPD services to access MVPD video
programming on stationary and mobile Internet-connected devices including: televisions, computers, tablets, and
smartphones. MVPDs market their TV Everywhere initiatives under a variety of brand names (e.g., Comcast’s
Xfinity, and TWC TVTM).
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80which MVPD subscribers receive access to programming via VOD, online, and mobile wireless devices.51
To what extent do MVPDs view VOD and TV Everywhere service offerings, both online and on mobile
wireless devices, as ways to retain existing subscribers and attract new ones? How extensively do
MVPDs offer specialized services to consumers (e.g., multi-room DVR service, more channels, more HD,
video content online, access to content on mobile devices, and/or a variety of bundles52)? How do
MVPDs advertise their services to existing and potential subscribers? What delivered video services do
they feature in their advertising?
We also seek information regarding the pricing behavior of MVPDs. How does the price
MVPDs pay for programming, including sports programming, impact the prices they charge to
consumers?53 Are the prices of MVPD video packages and services easily identifiable and well-explained
on consumers’ monthly bill and/or MVPDs’ web sites and other promotional materials? To what extent
do providers of MVPD service reduce prices or offer promotion pricing to attract new subscribers and/or
retain existing subscribers? Do providers negotiate with individual subscribers over prices before and
after introductory periods? Do homes that subscribe to the same delivered video services, from the same
provider, in the same geographic area, pay different prices? How do bundles of service (i.e., packages
that combine video, voice, equipment, and/or Internet service) affect the price charged for video services?
To what extent have MVPDs been raising prices?
We are interested in learning whether an increase in the number of MVPD rivals affects
pricing strategies. Do MVPDs charge lower prices (or use different pricing strategies) to homes that have
access to multiple MVPDs? For its Annual Cable Price Survey, the Commission collects price data from
a sample of cable systems, but does not collect price data for other types of MVPDs (e.g., DBS and
AT&T U-verse).54 We seek price data for MVPDs not included in the Annual Cable Price Survey, such
as the monthly rate for both the lowest programming package and any equipment needed to access the
video service. What additional data sources on MVPD prices are available for our 15th Report?
51 SNL Kagan, Economics of Mobile Programming, 2011 Edition, at 7.
52 Many MVPDs offer video, high-speed Internet, and wireline and/or wireless telephone services in bundles of two,
three, or four services to consumers at discounted introductory prices and/or savings on the long-term price of each
service compared to the price of buying each service separately.
53 MVPDs are experimenting with low-cost programming packages in a limited number of markets. For example
Cox Communications offers an economy package for $35 a month that includes several basic cable networks, but
excludes ESPN and regional sports networks (“RSNs”). Comcast and Time Warner Cable have also tested and
offered similar tiers. Colin Dixon, Prices Up, Subscribers Down: Can Value Packages Save Cable?, THE
DIFFUSION GROUP, at http://tdgresearch.com/blogs/ottmonitor/archive/2012/01/27/prices-up-subscribers-down-can-
value-packages-save-cable.aspx (visited May 22, 2012). DISH Network, which positions itself as a low-cost MVPD
(in contrast to sports-centric DIRECTV, which offers exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket programming), has reportedly
considered dropping ESPN if it does not agree to be distributed on a separate sports tier, to keep prices in check for
subscribers who are non-sports fans. In New York, DISH Network has dropped RSNs SportsNet New York, YES,
and MSG Plus. DISH Network CEO Charlie Ergen has stated that if only 15 percent of subscribers in a market
actually watch sports programming, it may be a good idea for one of the MVPDs not to carry RSNs. Derek Baine,
Dish to Dump ESPN?, SNL KAGAN, Sept. 13, 2011, at 11
54 Section 623(k) of the Communications Act, as amended by the 1992 Cable Act, requires the Commission to
publish a statistical report on average rates charged for the basic cable service and cable programming service tiers,
and cable equipment. See, e.g., Implementation of Section 3 of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and
Competition Act of 1992, Statistical Report on Average Rates for Basic Service, Cable Programming Service, and
Equipment, MM Docket No. 92-266, Report on Cable Industry Prices, 27 FCC Rcd 2427 (MB 2012).
Federal Communications Commission
We also seek information on the competitive strategies of MVPDs in providing VOD and
TV Everywhere programming on fixed and mobile devices. In particular, we are interested in learning
what competitive issues MVPDs encounter when acquiring content for VOD and TV Everywhere from
content creators and aggregators. Does the horizontal or vertical integration of content creators or
aggregators, particularly companies that own broadcast television stations as well as broadcast and cable
networks and studios, impact the ability of MVPDs to acquire rights to programming or the price of the
programming? How does the size of an MVPD impact its bargaining power in such negotiations?
We seek data and comment on the provision of local news and sports by MVPDs as a
competitive strategy in the delivery of video programming. What other types of local programming do
MVPDs offer? What data sources are available to help in our analysis of MVPD provision of local news
and sports, as well as other local programming?
Conduct Resulting from Horizontal and Vertical Mergers. As discussed above, we seek
data, information, and comment on trends in horizontal and vertical mergers and acquisitions.55 Has any
MVPD acquired sufficient market power to impair competition? If so, how has competition been
impaired? What consumer benefits, if any, have recent horizontal and vertical mergers achieved?56 In
addition, we invite comment on any other issues concerning MVPD conduct that will assist our analysis
of competition in the delivery of video programming by MVPDs.
We seek comment on the information and time-series data we should collect for the
analysis of various MVPD performance metrics. In the 14th Report, we considered performance metrics
such as subscribership and penetration rates, financial performance, and investment and innovation.57 We
expect to continue to report on these metrics in the 15th Report. Are there other metrics that would
enhance our analysis of MVPD performance? To the extent commenters suggest other metrics, we
request data for their use in preparation of the 15th Report.
Quantity and Delivery Methods. We seek data, information, and comment on trends in
the number of linear video channels as well as VOD and TV Everywhere video content offered by
MVPDs to fixed and mobile devices. Has the number of linear channels and/or the number of VOD and
TV Everywhere programs available increased? What are the most popular MVPD programming
packages? Describe these packages in terms of the total number of analog and SD channels, number of
HD channels, and number of VOD and TV Everywhere offerings. Are there geographic differences with
respect to programming choices? How is the deployment of next-generation MVPD technologies58
affecting the amount of programming MVPDs offer subscribers on a linear and non-linear basis? What
effect has the entry of additional MVPDs had on programming choices and improvements in the delivery
of video programming? What impact has the growth in OVD services had on MVPD services, in
particular the deployment of VOD and TV Everywhere services?59 What are the subscription levels for
DVR and HD services? How many VOD titles are viewed per system?
55 See supra Section II.A.1 (discussing MVPD market structure, specifically horizontal concentration and vertical
56 See, e.g., Comcast-NBCU Order.
57 14th Report ¶¶ 134-54.
58 For example, some MVPDs have started to deploy multi-room DVR and home network solutions as well as
cloud-based user interfaces in an effort to offer their subscribers flexibility in viewing and greater access to video
programming. See 14th Report ¶¶ 390-91.
59 See infra Section II.C (discussion of OVDs).
Federal Communications Commission
Subscribership and Penetration Rates. We seek data and information regarding the
number of homes passed nationally, the number of subscribers, and the resulting penetration rate for
MVPD service.60 We also request data regarding trends in the number of new homes that subscribe to
MVPD services. In addition, we solicit subscription data for the channel lineup packages (including
international, other specific genres, and premium) and other delivered video programming services that
MVPDs currently market to consumers.61 What percentage of customers subscribe to these video
packages and other delivered video programming services? How does subscription and penetration data
vary by geographic region for MVPDs? What is the level of “churn” (i.e., consumer switching among
MVPDs) and is it increasing or decreasing?
Financial Performance. We request information on various measures of MVPD financial
performance, including data on MVPD revenues, cash flows, and margins. To the extent possible, we
seek five-year time-series data to allow us to analyze trends. We are interested in the performance of the
MVPD industry as a whole as well as the performance of individual MVPDs. What is the average
revenue per MVPD subscriber?62 What are the major sources of video-related revenue for MVPDs?
What percentage of total revenue is derived from each of these sources? What are the major video-related
drivers of revenue growth? What are the major sources of costs for MVPDs, including programming
costs? What is the impact of such costs on MVPDs? We seek data, information, and comments regarding
profitability. What metrics and data should we use to measure profitability (e.g., return on invested
capital, operating margins)? Are there any other quantitative or qualitative metrics that would add to our
analysis of MVPD financial performance? We recognize that many MVPDs also provide non-video
services, such as voice and high-speed Internet services, along with video service often offered on a
bundled basis. We also note that MVPDs may cross-subsidize services.63 Our focus, however, is
delivered video programming, and commenters submitting financial data should separate video from non-
video services. Commenters should specify the methodology each firm uses for allocating joint and
common costs. Likewise, commenters should explain the methodology each firm uses for allocating
Investment and Innovation. We ask commenters to provide information concerning
MVPDs’ investments in the market for video programming, including investment levels over time,
investment per subscriber, investment as a percentage of revenue, and capital expenditures by individual
MVPDs. Does investment vary by geographic region or between national and regional providers? What
innovative services or technologies are MVPDs currently deploying? What is driving this deployment?
In addition, we seek comment on how investment and innovation affect competition among MVPDs and
other providers of delivered video programming. Have OVDs spurred investment and innovation by
MVPDs? To what extent do content aggregators and creators as well as manufacturers of consumer
premises equipment influence MVPD investment and innovation?
We also request information on the pace at which MVPDs are deploying, or have plans to
deploy, new technologies, including transitioning from analog, or hybrid analog/digital, to all-digital
distribution, adding IP-delivered video programming, deploying more efficient video encoding
technologies (e.g., MPEG-4), deploying enhanced transmission technologies (e.g., DOCSIS 3.0) and
60 We define penetration as the number of subscribers to an MVPD service expressed as a percentage of the number
of homes that have access to the MVPD.
61 See Modernizing the FCC Form 477 Data Program, WC Docket No. 11-10, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26
FCC Rcd 1508, 1536-38, ¶¶ 77-88 (2011) (“Form 477 Modernization NPRM”).
62 See id. at 1535, ¶¶ 71-73.
63 See 14th Report ¶¶ 110, 116, 131-32.
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80expanding 3-D services. To the extent that MVPDs are migrating to digital or otherwise repurposing
spectrum, we seek comment on what new or additional services are they providing to consumers (e.g.,
more HD channels, broadband, VOD, etc.).
Broadcast Television Stations1.
Broadcast Television Structure39.
Providers of broadcast television service include both individual and group owners that
hold licenses to broadcast video programming to consumers. Consumers who do not subscribe to an
MVPD service may rely on over-the-air distribution of broadcast televisions for their video programming.
Also, many MVPD homes receive broadcast television stations over-the-air on television sets that they
have chosen not to connect to MVPD service.64 The Commission already collects data on the number of
broadcast television stations in each designated market area (“DMA”) and ownership of broadcast
television stations using our CDBS database,65 and purchases data from BIA/Kelsey66 and The Nielsen
Company.67 We seek additional data concerning the number of households that rely on over-the-air
broadcast television service, either exclusively or supplemented with OVD service, rather than receiving
broadcast programming from an MVPD. In addition to the number of homes relying on over-the-air
broadcast service, we request information regarding any demographic and geographic characteristics of
such households. We also seek data on the percentage of households that own television sets, i.e., the
total number of television households.68 We also seek data regarding the number of households with
DVRs and HD sets. How many households routinely view broadcast programming over-the-air in
addition to subscribing to an MVPD?
Horizontal Concentration. We are interested in tracking common ownership of broadcast
stations nationally and by DMA. Commission rules limit the number of broadcast television stations an
entity can own in a DMA, depending on the number of independently owned stations in the market.69
The Commission already collects data that we can use to assess the horizontal structure of broadcast
television stations, including the number of stations in each DMA and the ownership of each station.70 Is
64 Id. ¶ 155.
65 The Commission collects data on broadcast stations through the Broadcast Radio and Television Electronic Filing
System (CDBS). See Federal Communications Commission, Media Bureau: MB-CDBS: CDBS Public Access,
http://licensing.fcc.gov/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/cdbs_pa.htm. We collect ownership data on FCC Form 323 –
Ownership Report for Commercial Broadcast Station – and the data are available in CDBS.
66 See BIA/Kelsey, Broadcast Media Resources, http://www.biakelsey.com/Research-and-Forecasts/Broadcast-
Media-Resources/ (visited May 22, 2012).
67 Under Commission rules, broadcast television stations serve a community of license. However, Nielsen’s DMA
market definition is commonly used as the geographic coverage area for broadcast television stations. A DMA is a
group of counties that form an exclusive geographic area in which the home market television stations hold a
dominance of total hours viewed. There are 210 DMAs, covering the entire continental United States, Hawaii, and
parts of Alaska. The DMA boundaries and DMA data are owned solely and exclusively by The Nielsen Company.
See Nielsen, http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/public%20factsheets/tv/nielsen-2012-local-DMA-
TV-penetration.pdf (visited May 22, 2012).
68 The 14th Report indicates that the number of television households in the United States increased each year from
2006-2010, but began to decline in 2011. 14th Report, Table 15.
69 47 C.F.R. § 73.3555.
70 See 14th Report ¶¶ 166-170.
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80there other available data that may better inform our assessment of horizontal concentration in the
broadcast station industry?
Vertical Integration. The Commission has collected data that we can use to analyze
trends in vertical integration, including data on the number of broadcast stations owned by or affiliated
with video content creators and aggregators.71 For the 15th Report, we seek to report on the vertical
integration of broadcast television stations with broadcast networks and cable networks as we have done
in the past. As such, we seek data on the vertical structure of the broadcast television industry. How
many broadcast television stations, nationally and within each DMA, are vertically integrated with a
broadcast network or a cable network? What, if any, trends exist with respect to the vertical integration
between television stations and broadcast networks or cable networks? How does the vertical integration
of television stations with broadcast networks, cable networks, and studios affect their ability to negotiate
with MVPDs and OVDs for carriage rights? We also seek comment on ways to improve our analysis of
We also request data, information, and comment on the impact of horizontal and vertical
combinations on the competitive condition of broadcast television stations with respect to the delivery of
video programming. Does group ownership of broadcast stations within a DMA and/or across DMAs
affect advertising revenue? Does group ownership within a DMA or across DMAs affect the price paid
for video content? Are broadcast television stations that are vertically integrated with broadcast television
networks better able to compete in the delivery of video programming? Do joint sales agreements
(“JSAs”),72 local marketing agreements (“LMAs”),73 and shared services agreements (“SSAs”)74 impact
the provision of programming to the public? Do these types of sharing arrangements affect the
competitiveness of independent stations?
Conditions Affecting Entry and Rivalry. The Commission’s spectrum allocation and
licensing policies affect the structure of broadcast television by limiting the number of stations located in
a given geographic area.75 Other Commission rules limit the number of broadcast television stations an
entity can own in a DMA as well as limit the national audience reach of commonly owned broadcast
television stations.76 Congress recently enacted legislation that provides for voluntary participation of
broadcast station licensees in “reverse auctions” in which they may offer to relinquish some or all of their
licensed spectrum usage rights in exchange for a share of the proceeds from a “forward auction” of
71 See 14th Report, Apps. B & C, Tables B-2 & C-2. See also supra Section II.A.1 (discussing MVPD vertical
72 A JSA is “an agreement with a licensee of a ‘brokered station’ that authorizes a ‘broker’ to sell advertising time
for the ‘brokered station.’” 47 C.F.R. § 73.3555, Note 2(k).
73 An LMA or time brokerage agreement refers to “the sale by a licensee of discrete blocks of time to a ‘broker’ that
supplies the programming to fill that time and sells the commercial spot announcements in it.” 47 C.F.R. § 73.3555,
74 A shared services agreement is an agreement to coordinate programming and/or operations between broadcast
stations. See, e.g., Amendment of the Commission’s Rules Related to Retransmission Consent, MB Docket No. 10-
71, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 2718, 2731, ¶ 23 n.74 (2011).
75 See generally 47 C.F.R. Part 73, Subpart E.
76 47 C.F.R. § 73.3555. While we collect data and information about the ownership of broadcast television stations
for our Quadrennial Media Ownership review, the purpose of that review is different from our purpose here. In that
context, we explore whether the current broadcast ownership rules promote the Commission’s goals of competition,
localism, and diversity in broadcasting. Here, we are specifically exploring how the structure of broadcast television
affects competition in video programming distribution.
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80licenses for the use of any reallocated TV broadcast spectrum.77 In the 14th Report, we noted that these
statutory and regulatory actions may affect the entry and rivalry of broadcasters.78 We seek data,
information, and comment on the impact of these requirements on entry and rivalry in the broadcast
television industry. Are there other regulations that affect entry and rivalry of broadcast television
stations? We ask commenters to provide data and examples for each regulation that affects entry and
We seek information and comment on non-regulatory conditions affecting entry and
rivalry, including access to capital and programming. For example, are there supply-side economies of
scale that enable commonly owned broadcast television stations to spread fixed costs over greater
audiences? Are there demand-side economies of scale that enable commonly owned broadcast television
stations to negotiate lower prices for video programming? We invite analysis of the relationship between
the advertising market and entry and exit in broadcast television. What other non-regulatory conditions
influence entry and rivalry and to what extent? Which broadcast station licensees have entered or exited
the broadcast televisions industry and why?
Broadcast Television Conduct45.
Price Rivalry. Because broadcast television stations do not charge consumers directly for
the delivery of their signals, they do not compete on price in the traditional sense. Broadcast television is
free to consumers who receive it over-the-air. Nevertheless, since about 90 percent of all television
households receive broadcast stations from an MVPD, most consumers pay for broadcast stations as part
of their MVPD service.79 In the case of cable, broadcast television stations are part of the basic service
package, which is generally a low price offering.80 What price do MVPDs charge to consumers to receive
broadcast television stations on their basic tier of service?
Commercial broadcast television stations earn revenue from advertising.81 We seek data,
information, and comment on the business strategies of broadcast television stations as they confront
changes in the advertising market, both long-term changes and those changes brought on by the economic
downturn. In particular, we seek data on trends in prices for spot and local advertising on broadcast
television stations. How does revenue from political advertising affect broadcasters’ business strategies?
To what extent has offering video content online increased the advertising revenue of broadcast stations?
Some commercial broadcast television stations also earn revenue in the form of
retransmission consent fees from MVPDs in return for carriage of their stations.82 We seek information
regarding the types and characteristics of stations seeking retransmission consent fees. We also request
comment on the types and characteristics of stations choosing MVPD carriage under the must-carry
regime. In addition, we request information regarding any business strategies aimed at increasing revenue
77 See Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96, §§ 6401-05, 126 Stat. 156, 222-
78 See 14th Report ¶¶ 177-80.
79 Nielsen, TELEVISION AUDIENCE 2010 & 2011, 2011, at 6. See also 14th Report, Table 15.
80 47 U.S.C. §§ 534(b)(7); 543(b)(7), 47 C.F.R. § 76.901(a).
81 On-air advertising is the largest source of revenue for television stations even though the share of total revenue
derived from on-air advertising is declining. Advertising represented 96 percent of the broadcast television station
industry net revenues in 2006 and 91 percent of industry net revenues in 2010. See 14th Report ¶ 216.
82 See 14th Report ¶¶ 222-25 (indicating that broadcast stations, like cable networks, are negotiating per subscriber
fees from MVPDs in exchange for carriage rights).
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80from retransmission consent fees. What prices (per subscriber) are broadcast stations receiving from
MVPDs for retransmission consent?
Non-Price Rivalry. Broadcast stations compete with each other for viewers and
advertisers on two major non-price criteria – programming and the ability to view such programming in
multiple formats. As a result of the digital transition, each broadcast television station has been allotted 6
MHz of spectrum permitting multiple linear program streams, HD broadcasts, and/or the delivery of
programming to mobile devices.83 We seek data, information, and comment on the use of multiple
program streams as a business strategy to enhance a broadcaster’s competitive position in the delivery of
video programming. What types of programming are broadcasters carrying on their multiple streams?
Does the ability to offer multiple programming streams since the digital transition enhance the ability of
broadcasters to attract viewers to over-the-air video service and to compete against MVPDs? We also
seek data, information, and comment on the number of broadcast television channels available in each
DMA, counting both primary stations and additional multicast programming streams. Has the amount of
programming increased since the digital transition?
Are broadcasters using HD programming as a strategy to attract viewers? How many
broadcast television stations offer video content in HD? What percentage of their programming is in HD?
Has this percentage increased over time? What effect does the ability to offer video programming in HD
have on broadcast stations’ ability to compete against other broadcasters and attract viewers? Are
broadcasters using their ability to deliver programming to mobile devices as a competitive strategy? How
many broadcasters are currently delivering programming to mobile devices?84 Do broadcasters have
business plans to use some of their digital capacity for a subscription service or to lease a portion of their
digital spectrum capacity to others for a subscription service?85
Broadcasters remain important providers of local news.86 We seek data and comment on
the provision of local news as a competitive strategy in the delivery of video programming and the
geographic availability of local news programming. We also request comment on the strategies and
partnerships broadcasters are using to deliver news online. Does the ability to distribute programming
online lead some broadcasters to increase their investment in news and information programming or
provide news to consumers that might not otherwise be available?
For many years, broadcast television networks have used their local broadcast television
affiliated stations as their primary distributor of programming. We solicit comment on whether and how
broadcast television stations position themselves to remain the primary distributor of broadcast television
83 Id. ¶ 157.
84 See id. ¶¶ 203-05. See also Mobile Content Venture, http://www.dyle.tv/mcv/overview/ (visited May 22, 2012);
Mobile500 Alliance, http://www.mobile500alliance.com/ (visited May 22, 2012).
85 Previously, the Commission reported on U.S. Digital Television, Inc., which combined broadcast spectrum
licensed to a number of broadcasters to create subscription video distribution via DTV streams. 13th Report, 24 FCC
Rcd at 598-99, ¶ 115.
86 A 2011 survey found that local television remains the most popular source of news and information, but that local
stations continue to face challenges in their attempts to grow online and mobile audiences. Deborah Potter et al.,
Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, Local TV: Audience Rise After Years of Decline, State
of the News Media 2012, at http://stateofthemedia.org/2012/local-tv-audience-rise-after-years-of-decline/ (visited
May 22, 2012) (“Pew State of the News Media Report”). Local news also continues to be major policy goal of the
Commission’s media ownership rules. See 2010 Quadrennial Regulatory Review – Review of the Commission’s
Broadcast Ownership Rules and Other Rules Adopted Pursuant to Section 202 of the Telecommunications Act of
1996, MB Docket No. 09-182, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 17489, 17492, ¶ 6 (2011).
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80network programming. To what extent is local broadcast programming available online, either on their
own websites or through licensing agreements with OVD aggregators, such as Hulu and iTunes? What
effect does the availability of broadcast programming online have on broadcast stations?87 Are there
benefits to broadcasters of making video content available online and on devices other than a television
set? If so, what are those benefits?
Finally, what competitive strategies do broadcast television stations use to distinguish
themselves from other broadcast television stations? For example, are broadcasters investing in local
programming, other than news, to enhance the competitive position of their stations? We also seek data,
information, and comment on the additional business strategies broadcast television stations use in
competing against each other.
Broadcast Television Performance53.
We seek information and time-series data for the analysis of various performance metrics
for broadcast television. These metrics include the improvements in quantity and quality of broadcast
television station programming, over-the-air viewership, viewership from carriage on MVPDs, revenue
from advertising, revenue from retransmission consent fees, other revenue, investment and innovation,
and rate of return/profitability.
Viewership. We seek data, information, and comment on the viewership of broadcast
television stations both from over-the-air reception and MVPD carriage. What is the trend in total
viewership in total household terms? What is the trend in the share of the total audience that broadcast
television stations receive either over-the-air or via MVPD carriage relative to the share received by cable
networks carried by MVPDs? How many households view broadcast television stations online rather
Financial Performance. We seek data on broadcast television station revenues, cash
flows, and profit margins. We are interested in the performance of the broadcast television industry as a
whole as well as the performance of broadcast television stations, on average.
In the 14th Report, we provided information regarding the major sources of revenue for
broadcast stations – advertising, network compensation, retransmission consent, and ancillary DTV
revenues.88 We seek data on each of these revenue sources. What percentage of total revenue is derived
from each of these sources? How are these revenue sources and their relative shares of total revenue
changing? Are there changes to the network/affiliate relationships that affect broadcast stations’
revenues? We specifically seek information regarding the extent to which network affiliated broadcast
stations now pay “reverse compensation” to their networks and/or share retransmission consent revenues
with the network.89 We realize that some broadcast stations are integrated with other businesses but we
are primarily interested in financial data related directly to the video programming of broadcast television
stations, such as the local and national advertising revenue, retransmission consent fees, and revenue from
We also seek data regarding the profitability of broadcast television stations. In the 14th
Report, we assessed profitability by examining both financial reports and data on a station-level and
87 See 14th Report ¶ 203.
88 See id. ¶¶ 216-220 (advertising revenue); ¶ 221 (network compensation); ¶¶ 222-225 (retransmission consent
fees); and ¶ 226 (ancillary DTV revenues).
89 In the 14th Report, we noted that broadcast networks have begun to require affiliates to make cash payments to
them and/or require affiliates to share a portion of their retransmission consent revenues. See id. ¶¶ 221, 223.
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80company-level basis.90 What metrics and data should we use in the 15th Report to measure profitability
(e.g., return on invested capital and operating margins)? What are the major expenses for broadcast
television stations? We are particularly interested in the impact of programming costs on broadcast
television stations. Has the financial performance of broadcast stations improved given the broader
distribution of broadcast stations’ video programming through nonlinear formats, such as OVDs, VOD,
and TV Everywhere services? Are there any other quantitative or qualitative metrics that would add to
our analysis of broadcast television stations’ financial performance?
Investment and Innovation. We seek comment on how investment in digital television
affects competition among broadcast television stations and in the larger market for the delivery of video
programming. We request data on broadcast television stations’ investment in digital television and
innovative technologies for distributing traditional programming, as well as on the financial returns of
these investments. What has investment in digital television done to enhance the competitive position of
broadcast television stations in the delivery of video programming? Are there geographic differences in
the amount of investment?
Online Video Distributors1.
OVDs are entities that distribute video content over the Internet to consumers.91 To
receive video content distributed by an OVD, a consumer must subscribe to a high-speed Internet access
service. The Commission already collects data on entities that provide fixed and mobile high-speed
Internet access services. We therefore have significant information regarding the structure, conduct, and
performance of the broadband markets, including the number and size of participants, the number of
homes that have access to each provider’s high-speed Internet service, the download and upload speeds,
the services offered by broadband providers, and the prices charged for broadband service.92 With respect
to the delivery of video content by OVDs, we seek comment on the best available sources of information
to enable us to analyze OVDs.93 The 14th Report surveyed some of the major players in the OVD
marketplace, but lacked data and information covering the OVD industry as a whole. To the extent they
are available, we ask commenters to provide data and information regarding the OVD marketplace for the
The OVD marketplace has grown substantially over the last few years. Today, OVDs
include programmers and content producers/owners (e.g., broadcast and cable networks, sports leagues,
and movie studios), video sharing sites and social network services (e.g., YouTube and Facebook), and
affiliates of manufacturers, retailers, and other businesses (e.g., Amazon.com and Wal-Mart’s Vudu
service).94 We request data, information, and comment on the number, size, and types of OVDs. Are
90 Id. ¶ 230.
91 See supra note 10 (defining an OVD).
92 See FCC Form 477 Broadband Data; 15th Mobile Wireless Report; Inquiry Concerning the Deployment of
Advanced Telecommunications Capability to All Americans in a Reasonable and Timely Fashion, and Possible
Steps to Accelerate Such Deployment Pursuant to Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Amended by
the Broadband Data Improvement Act, GN Docket No. 10-159, Seventh Broadband Progress Report and Order on
Reconsideration, 26 FCC Rcd 8008 (2011). See also Form 477 Modernization NPRM.
93 See also Annual Assessment of the Status of Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video Programming,
MB Docket No. 07-269, Further Notice of Inquiry, 26 FCC Rcd 14091, 14112, ¶ 52 (2011).
94 14th Report ¶¶ 244-57. See also Preserving the Open Internet; Broadband Industry Practices, GN Docket No. 09-
191, WC Docket No. 07-52, Report and Order, 25 FCC Rcd 17905, 17978, ¶ 132 n.421 (2010).
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80OVDs typically affiliated with other businesses or are they stand-alone entities? To what extent do
individual OVDs compete with other OVDs? What data sources are available to analyze the structure of
the OVD marketplace? What entities do OVDs view as direct competitors? For instance, do OVDs
compete with MVPDs and/or broadcast television stations? Is OVD service a substitute or complement
for MVPD service? What data are available and what metrics should we use to analyze the extent to
which OVDs’ services are a substitute or complement to MVPD service?
We request input about issues relating to horizontal concentration and vertical integration
in the OVD marketplace. In the 14th Report, we noted that it is difficult to measure horizontal
concentration in the OVDs market due to continual entry and exit of industry participants, inability to
access necessary data, and lack of established metrics to measure OVD performance. Are there any new
data sources available that would help the Commission undertake a horizontal concentration analysis in
the 15th Report? What methodologies might the Commission employ? What metrics could the
We also seek comment and data that would permit us to assess vertical integration in the
OVD marketplace. We note that many OVDs are vertically integrated with other businesses.95 How do
these relationships affect competition in OVD marketplace? For example, do affiliations between OVDs
and content owners impact the availability of specific online content via multiple OVDs? Do affiliations
between OVDs and equipment retailers and/or manufacturers have an impact on the ability of consumers
to access OVD content via multiple devices, including mobile devices?
We further request comment on conditions that affect entry into the OVD marketplace and
rivalry among OVDs. What legal and regulatory barriers to entry do OVDs face? What non-regulatory
barriers exist? For example, OVDs often depend on unaffiliated ISPs to deliver content to their
customers. What affect does the need to rely on third parties to deliver their video content to consumers
have on the ability of entities to enter and compete in the OVD marketplace? What percentage of a
typical ISP’s traffic is due to OVD content? Do difficulties in acquiring content rights, or the costs of
acquiring such rights, act as a significant barrier to entry? Does the increasing cost of programming
content have the potential to drive OVDs out of business? What other non-regulatory barriers to entry are
there? What are the trends in recent OVD entry or exit, and what specific factors contribute to OVD entry
What business models and competitive strategies do OVDs use to compete in the delivery
of video content? What are the key differences among the business models and strategies in terms of
services offered to consumers? Some OVDs provide content to users for free, while others charge users a
fee to access content. Some OVDs charge a monthly fee, while others charge separately for each
television program or movie. We seek comment on the factors that affect an OVDs choice of business
models. Are OVDs increasingly inclined to charge consumers for access to their content? To what extent
do OVDs rely on advertising, subscription fees, per-program fees, or other sources of revenue? Are
OVDs implementing additional revenue strategies? We also seek information on the prices OVDs charge
for access to video content over the Internet. What prices are consumers currently paying for OVD
service? Have these prices changed over the last few years, and if so, why? In addition, we request
information on whether OVDs are implementing business models that are not free, subscription, or
95 For example, Hulu is an OVD owned by News Corporation, NBCUniversal, The Walt Disney Company, and
Providence Equity Partners. The four largest professional sports leagues – Major League Baseball, the National
Football League, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League – also provide a significant
portion of their programming online through paid subscription services. See 14th Report ¶¶ 246-47.
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80transaction based. For example, to what extent are OVDs entering partnerships with MVPDs or other
entities to provide bundled, exclusive, or otherwise enhanced access to the OVD service for subscribers of
MVPDs or other entities?
In the last few years, OVDs have made an increasing amount of video content available to
consumers over the Internet. What are the types of business arrangements OVDs use to acquire
distribution rights for content? What strategies are OVDs implementing to obtain video content for their
libraries? How does the decision to charge customers affect an OVD’s ability to deliver additional
content to consumers? To what extent are producers and owners of highly desirable content willing to
make that content available to consumers online? What other factors have an impact on the ability of
OVDs to secure the rights to compelling content?
OVDs increasingly make their video content available to subscribers via multiple devices,
including mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.96 To what extent must OVDs make content
available via multiple devices, including mobile devices, in order to compete in the OVD marketplace?
What costs or difficulties do OVDs face when attempting to make content available via multiple devices?
How is OVD service advertised? What media do OVDs use to advertise their service? Do
OVDs highlight the availability of increasing amounts of online video content to attract more viewers
and/or subscribers? Do OVDs use the ability to access content via multiple devices, including mobile
devices, as a means to attract and retain subscribers? What other factors do OVDs stress in
Currently, most OVD services allow viewers to search for content (e.g., video clips,
episodes of TV shows, or movies) within the OVD’s library and to view such content whenever the
customer wishes.97 To what extent have OVDs begun to produce or acquire original content? What are
the costs of producing or acquiring such content and does such content attract additional viewers? Are
those OVDs offering original content more competitive with MVPDs and broadcasters? Are OVDs
providing live and local content as a means to attract viewers (e.g., local news and sporting events)?
What additional strategies are OVDs using to differentiate themselves from competitors? To what extent
do OVDs provide data on content availability to third parties for inclusion in their content directories?
We seek input concerning OVD viewership, revenue, investment, and profitability. In
order to measure viewership, we seek information concerning the type of video content available online,
particularly television programs, movies, and sports, as well as the extent to which consumers are viewing
such content. How many consumers viewed content online as of June 30, 2011 and June 30, 2012? We
also seek other metrics that might be used to measure OVD viewership, such as hits/views, subscribership
numbers, and consumer purchase transactions. Have these numbers increased over the last few years, and
if so, why? Has the entry of OVDs in the marketplace resulted in reduced viewership of video
programming from MVPDs and broadcast television stations? What metrics should we use to compare
OVD viewership, MVPD viewership, and broadcast television station viewership? How have the
windowing strategies98 of video content aggregators and creators impacted OVDs? How have OVDs
increased the quantity and improved the delivery of their video content since the 14th Report? Is the OVD
96 14th Report ¶ 237.
97 Id. ¶¶ 244-57.
98 See infra ¶ 76 & note 111.
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80market affected by the ability of MVPDs to increase their capacity to offer video content using digital and
The 14th Report identified several possible revenue sources for OVDs, including fees from
consumers; in-video advertising; display advertising around the video; product placement; and
advergaming.99 We seek updated revenue data for these sources, as well as any other revenue sources
available to OVDs. What revenue sources are the most lucrative for OVDs?
We also request information and comment on investments and innovations in the OVD
marketplace. What types of entities are investing in new and existing OVDs? What financial returns do
OVDs earn on their investments? What types of investments are OVDs making to enhance their growth?
Are OVDs increasingly entering into joint ventures or partnerships to increase investment opportunities?
What innovative services or technologies are OVDs currently deploying? How should we measure
profitability for OVDs given that many operate within multimedia conglomerates or other large,
diversified businesses? Are there additional performance metrics we should consider for OVDs? We
seek comment on suggested ways to measure OVD performance and relevant data that will allow us to
perform such analysis.
RURAL VERSUS URBAN COMPARISON72.
Section 628(a) of the Communications Act sets as a goal increasing the availability of
video programming to persons in rural and underserved areas.100 As in previous reports, we expect to
compare competition in the market for the delivery of video in rural markets with that in urban markets.101
The Communications Act does not include a definition of what constitutes a rural area, and the
Commission has used various proxies to define rural areas, including Economic Area (“EA”) Nodal
versus Non-nodal counties102 and Metropolitan Statistical Area (“MSA”) counties versus Rural Service
Areas (“RSA”) counties.103 In the 14th Report, the Commission opted to use its definition of the term
“rural,” which it defines as a county with a population density of 100 persons or fewer per square mile.104
Is this a satisfactory definition for the purpose of measuring the availability of and competition among
providers of video programming? Are there other alternatives we should consider based on zip codes,
99 See 14th Report ¶¶ 327-33. Advergaming, a type of niche marketing, is the practice of inserting paid
advertisements in a video game.
100 47 U.S.C. § 548(a), (g).
101 See, e.g., 14th Report ¶¶ 343-58; 13th Report, 24 FCC Rcd at 579-580, ¶¶ 72-73.
102 Economic Areas are defined by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, and consist of one
or more counties that are “Economic Nodes” and the surrounding commercially related counties. As a proxy for
urban and rural geographic areas, the Commission compared counties that made up economic nodes, i.e., nodal
counties, with those that do not make up economic nodes, i.e., non-nodal counties. Implementation of Section
6002(b) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act – Annual Report and Analysis of Competitive Market Conditions
with Respect to Commercial Mobile Services, Eighth Report, 18 FCC Rcd 14783, 14835-36, ¶ 112 (2003) (“Eighth
Wireless Competition Report”). See also Implementation of Section 6002(b) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation
Act – Annual Report and Analysis of Competitive Market Conditions with Respect to Commercial Mobile Services,
Seventh Report, 17 FCC Rcd 12985, 13022 (2002) (“Seventh Wireless Competition Report”).
103 For administrative convenience, the Commission defined markets for the licensing of cellular systems in terms of
Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and Rural Service Areas (“RSAs”). MSAs are 306 areas defined by the
Office of Management and Budget, as modified by the Commission. RSAs are 428 areas, other than MSAs,
established by the Commission. 47 C.F.R. § 22.909. See also Eighth Wireless Competition Report, 18 FCC Rcd at
14836, ¶ 113; Seventh Wireless Competition Report, 17 FCC Rcd at 13022.
104 14th Report ¶ 344.
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80census tracts, or some other geographic unit to compare competition among video programming
distributors in rural and urban areas?105
We seek data, information, and comment to assess whether there are differences in the
delivery of video programming between rural and urban areas, and the factors that account for any
differences. Are there differences between the quantity and types of video programming offered to rural
consumers versus urban consumers? How does competition between MVPDs, broadcast stations, and
OVDs differ in rural and urban areas? Are there demographic, geographic, and economic factors driving
competitive differences in rural and urban markets? Which, if any, delivered video programming services
are most often lacking in rural areas? We recognize that most homes have access to two DBS services –
DIRECTV and DISH Network – that provide national service. How many homes in rural and urban areas
lack access to a cable system or another wireline MVPD? Is the percentage of these homes greater in
rural areas? How does access to broadcast television stations differ between rural and urban areas? Are
there any distinctions between rural and urban areas in the reliance of over-the-air broadcast signals? Do
rural areas have less access to high-speed Internet service and, therefore, less access to OVD services
relative to urban areas? How has the growth of online video increased the buildout of broadband in rural
We also request information, data, and comment regarding the differences in the prices of
delivered video service in rural areas relative to urban areas. Are MVPDs operating in rural areas charged
similar rates for content as MVPDs in urban areas? How do the retransmission rates in rural areas
compare to those in urban areas? When MVPD service is available in rural areas, are prices higher or
quality lower relative to urban markets?106 Are there examples of rural areas that receive delivered video
programming service similar in price and quality to those found in urban areas?
KEY INDUSTRY INPUTS
Video Content Creators and Aggregators75.
Creators of video programming are major production studios and independent production
companies.107 Video content aggregators are entities that combine video content into packages of video
programming for distribution.108 Video content aggregators include broadcast networks (e.g., ABC),
cable networks (e.g., ABC Family), and broadcast stations (e.g., WJLA-TV, Washington, DC). Many of
the large entertainment conglomerates include subsidiaries that are both video content creators and
aggregators.109 We request data, information, and comment that will help us analyze the number and size
105 See supra Section II.A.1. For example, USDA’s Economic Research Service Rural-Urban Commuting Area
(“RUCA”) codes use census tracts rather than counties. See Rural Health Research Center, Rural-Urban
Commuting Codes, http://depts.washington.edu/uwruca/ (visited May 22, 2012).
106 The Cable Price Survey Report provides information about national cable rates, but does not provide a
comparison of rates in urban versus rural areas.
107 Large firms that create content include Disney, News Corp., NBC Universal, Time Warner Inc., CBS, Viacom
and Discovery. See 14th Report ¶ 360. In addition to creating television content, many of these companies produce
theatrical movies and retain ultimate distribution rights. Id. Independent content creators include companies, such
as The Weinstein Company, the producer of movies such as The Artist and The King’s Speech. See The Weinstein
Company, About Us, http://weinsteinco.com/about-us/ (visited May 22, 2012).
108 We note that some OVDs distribute video programming aggregated by other entities and that some OVDs
aggregate the programming they distribute.
109 14th Report ¶ 360. For example, Disney and its affiliated companies include movie and television production
studios, as well as the ABC television network and several cable networks, including ESPN and ABC Family. The
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80of content creators and aggregators and the relationships between the content creators and aggregators and
the firms that distribute video content. Do independent production entities face any barriers in obtaining
carriage on all or some delivery systems (including broadcast, MVPDs. and OVDs)? In addition, we are
interested in information regarding entities, local and national, creating news, public interest
programming and/or sports and the relationships between the content creators and those that deliver video
programming.110 We are also interested in trends in vertical integration among studios and networks.
What effect, if any, does vertical integration have on their willingness and ability to make programming
available to MVPDs, broadcast television stations, or OVDs on a linear and nonlinear basis? Are there
any differences for MVPDs, broadcasters, or OVDs with respect to their relationships with independent
content creators in comparison to vertically integrated content creators? If so, what is the impact of these
We also seek data, information, and comment on the business strategies of content
creators and aggregators regarding the selling and licensing of video content and the effect on video
distribution. In recent years, some content owners have altered their business strategies with respect to
the type of video content created, the timing of release of specific video content through the various
delivery windows (“windowing”),111 and the prices charged for content in each window. How have these
changes affected competition between distributors of video programming or the growth of OVDs? Have
there been significant changes in the bargaining power between content owners and distributors of video
programming since the 14th Report? How have changes in content creation altered investment in the
distribution of video programming? How do the windowing strategies of video content owners affect the
distribution of video programming through VOD and over the Internet? How do the business models of
OVDs (i.e., electronic sell-through,112 advertising-supported, and/or subscription-based models) alter the
windowing strategies of content aggregators and creators? Have business strategies changed for creators
of news programming, especially local news programming? Do the delivery strategies for the creators of
sports programming differ from other video content creators? Have the business strategies of sports
leagues evolved and, if so, how? Has the entry or growth of new video content aggregators lead to an
expanded number of MVPD channel offerings or additional programming on broadcast television stations
using multiple digital streams? Are new entrants or established video content aggregators driving the
creation of additional programming networks and/or packages?
Consumer Premises Equipment77.
Consumer premises equipment traditionally refers to devices that enable consumers to
watch video content from MVPDs and broadcast stations on televisions. Such devices include
(...continued from previous page)
Walt Disney Company, Corporate Information: Company Overview,
http://corporate.disney.go.com/corporate/overview.html (visited May 22, 2012).
110 We note that a significant portion of news programming is produced at the local and regional level and, with
respect to sports, each league negotiates rights differently. We also recognize that sports programming differs from
other television programming because audience and advertiser interest is more predicable, and live sports
programming has little value beyond the initial telecast. These factors, among others, have led to the rising cost of
sports programming. See 14th Report ¶¶ 198, 372-75. See also supra note 86.
111 In addition to distributing movies in theaters, producers sell rights to distribute them on DVDs, on demand, pay
television services (e.g., HBO and Showtime), broadcast networks, and cable television networks. Likewise,
television production companies have traditionally adhered to prescribed time gaps between the initial broadcast and
cable distribution of a program series, DVDs, and syndication. 14th Report ¶¶ 365, 368, 370.
112 Electronic sell-through is the business model where a consumer pays a one-time fee to download a television
show, movie, or other media to be stored locally on a hard drive. 14th Report ¶ 290.
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80televisions, antennas, cable and satellite set-top boxes, DVD players, and recording equipment (e.g.,
DVRs). Today, however, consumer premises equipment also includes devices (e.g., video game consoles
and media streaming devices) that permit video content delivered by MVPDs and OVDs to be viewed on
a television, as well as allow video content delivered by broadcast television stations and MVPDs to be
viewed on personal computers or mobile devices.
Recently, the term “consumer premises equipment” has come to include devices, such as
“connected-TVs,” that receive video content directly from the Internet.113 Similarly, in addition to
enabling users to watch videos on computers, several set-top boxes (e.g., Roku, Boxee, and Apple TV)
deliver online video directly to viewers’ televisions.114 With connected-TVs, game consoles (e.g.,
Microsoft’s Xbox115 and Sony’s PlayStation), or Blu-Ray players, consumers can also watch certain
television programs, movies, and sporting events online.116 DVR manufacturer TiVo enables consumers
to purchase movies and television programs from online stores, stream movies and content from
subscription services like Hulu Plus and Netflix, and, in certain areas, access cable-provided video-on-
demand.117 Likewise, mobile devices, such as Apple’s iPad, enable consumers to watch some television
programs and movies using broadband wireless connections. These and other devices allow consumers to
purchase and download online video content.
In the 15th Report, we plan to discuss the devices that facilitate the delivery of video
programming and their effect on competition in the delivery of video programming.118 We recognize the
costs of consumer premises equipment may hinder competition by, among other things, raising
consumers’ switching costs. We therefore request information on developments relating to consumer
premises equipment and the services providing options to consumers for viewing video programming. In
particular, we seek information on the retail market for set-top boxes, including set-top boxes that do not
use CableCARDs, such as those sold at retail for use with DBS services or for use with OVD services.
What are the challenges that manufacturers face in investing and innovating in consumer equipment?
What are the different types of consumer premises equipment – both MVPD supplied and non-MVPD
supplied – used to access video content and the capabilities thereof? What prices do MVPDs typically
pay for those devices? To what extent do MVPDs offer different equipment options at different price
points on their systems, and what is the overall lease cost of such equipment to subscribers?119 To the
extent that consumers can purchase comparable devices, what price would a consumer pay for such a
113 See id. ¶ 399.
114 See id.
115 See Frank X. Shaw, Xbox: Now That’s Entertainment, THE OFFICIAL MICROSOFT® BLOG, May 31, 2011, at
http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2011/05/31/xbox-now-that-s-entertainment.aspx (visited May 22,
2012) (“Xbox is the gateway to games, music, movies and TV shows – in short, it is central to entertainment.”).
116 See John P. Falcone, Which streaming media device is right for you?, CNET NEWS, Mar. 26, 2012, at
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20025670-1/which-streaming-media-device-is-right-for-you/ (visited May
117 Harry McCracken, TiVo Gets Comcast’s Xfinity on Demand, TIME, Apr. 9, 2012, at
http://techland.time.com/2012/04/09/tivo-gets-comasts-xfinity-on-demand/ (visited May 22, 2012).
118 47 U.S.C. § 549(a). See also 14th Report ¶ 393.
119 We understand that set-top box functionalities can vary widely. We invite comment on the functions and
services that MVPDs use to differentiate the prices that they charge to consumers.
Federal Communications Commission
We also seek information and comment on how competition among MVPDs affects the
deployment of new CPE and delivery technologies to improve the subscriber experience, such as through
improved search and navigation capabilities. In particular, we seek information on the extent to which
MVPDs are using managed IP clouds to deliver network-based DVRs, interactive programming guides,
IP video streaming, VOD and other interactive applications. In addition, we request information
regarding the impact of digital rights management technology and conditional access technology (and
associated patent or content licensing terms) on the availability of video programming to consumers.
What are the adoption trends among consumers for these types of equipment? To what extent are CPE
manufacturers partnering with OVDs, MVPDs, content aggregators, and content creators to offer linear or
non-linear video programming to consumer devices?
We understand that there are certain things MVPDs must coordinate with electronics
manufacturers (e.g., DRM,120 codecs,121 and connectors122) in order to deliver video programming to
consumers. We seek comment on other technical specifications that MVPDs, content owners, and
consumer electronics manufacturers coordinate. How do these parties agree on the devices that are used?
How much interaction is there between MVPDs delivering video programming and manufacturers of
consumer premises equipment, especially manufacturers of cable and DBS set-top boxes and devices
enabling consumers to view online video on their televisions?
We seek information about how trends in consumer behavior affect the products and
services of providers of delivered video programming. For instance, we seek data on trends that compare
consumer viewing of regularly scheduled video programming with viewing of time-shifted programming
using DVRs, VOD content, and OVD content. Video content available online is increasing,123 and reports
indicate that an increasing number of consumers are viewing videos online.124 To what extent are
consumers becoming “cord avoiders”125 and dropping MVPD service in favor of OVDs or a combination
of OVDs and over-the-air television? Are consumers reducing their MVPD subscriptions by, for
example, substituting Netflix for premium channels or VOD services? Do consumers view OVD services
120 Digital Rights Management (“DRM”) systems encrypt content with software before delivering it down to an
authorized consumer’s device for descrambling. See Mike Robuck, The Fragmented World of DRM, CED
MAGAZINE, Mar. 2, 2012, at http://www.cedmagazine.com/articles/2012/03/the-fragmented-world-of-drm (visited
May 22, 2012).
121 Codec is short for coder-decoder or compressor-decompressor. Codecs are software that take digital media data
and either compress them (for transport and storage) or decompress them (for viewing or transcoding). With smaller
file sizes and lower bit rates, digital media content can be streamed over a network more quickly and easily. See
Loyd Chase, All About Video Codecs and Containers, PCWORLD, Dec. 14, 2010, at
http://www.pcworld.com/article/213612/all_about_video_codecs_and_containers (visited May 22, 2012).
122 Connectors are the part of a cable that plugs into a port or interface to link networks or devices together.
Connectors attach to set top boxes, televisions, computers, etc. See HDTV Magazine, Set Top Box Interconnections,
http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ISSUES/STBs.html (visited May 22, 2012).
123 14th Report ¶ 242.
124 See id. ¶¶ 319-24 & Table 23.
125 The term “cord-avoiders” refers to individuals or households using OVD alternatives (such as Hulu and Netflix)
to avoid paying for MVPD service. In some cases the choice to do so is related to recent economic difficulties. See
Dan Hirschhorn, ‘Cord-Avoiders’ to Reduce Cable and Satellite TV Rolls in 2012, Analysts Say, ADVERTISING AGE,
Nov. 28, 2011, at http://adage.com/article/mediaworks/cable-satellite-tv-subscriber-rolls-shrink-2012/231216/
(visited May 22, 2012).
Federal Communications Commission
FCC 12-80separately or in conjunction with over-the-air broadcast television service as a potential substitute for
MVPD service? What impact do “cord-nevers”126 have on the market for delivered video programming?
Video distributors advertise their services on television, in newspapers, and through
mailings, as well as offer Internet sites where potential consumers can find information about services,
equipment, prices, and the cost of installation. We seek data, information, and comment on the consumer
information sources for delivered video programming services and equipment. Do consumers have
sufficient information to compare the prices, services, and equipment that video distributors offer? What
do consumers consider most important when choosing a provider? What do consumers say are the main
reasons for switching providers (e.g., price, program packages, and customer service)?
Authority. This Notice is issued pursuant to authority contained in Sections 4(i), 4(j),
403, and 628(g) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C §§ 154(i), 154(j), 403, and
Ex Parte Rules. There are no ex parte or disclosure requirements applicable to this
proceeding pursuant to 47 C.F.R. § 1.1204(b)(1).
Comment Information. Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission’s rules,
47 CFR §§ 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates
indicated on the first page of this document. Comments may be filed using the Commission’s Electronic
Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR
24121 (1998). All filings concerning matters referenced in this Public Notice should refer to MB Docket
Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the
Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each
filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding,
filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number.
Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-
class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission’s Secretary
must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-A325,
Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries
must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be
disposed of before entering the building.
Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority
Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
126 The term “cord-nevers” refers to individuals who have never subscribed to an MVPD service. They are typically
young adults and students. See Bernard Gershon, TV’s Scariest Generation: The Cable Nevers, ADVERTISING AGE,
Dec. 2, 2011, at http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/tv-s-scariest-generation-cable-nevers/231330/ (visited May 22,
Federal Communications Commission
U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th
Street, SW, Washington DC 20554.
Accessibility Information. To request materials in accessible formats for people with
disabilities (braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call
the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).
For further information about this Notice of Inquiry, please contact Johanna Thomas at
(202) 418-7551, email@example.com, or Marcia Glauberman at (202) 418-7046,
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
Federal Communications Commission
COMMISSIONER AJIT PAIRe: Annual Assessment of the Status of Competition in the Market for the Delivery of Video
Programming, MB Docket No. 12-203
I would like to thank the Media Bureau staff for all of their work producing this comprehensive
report, which demonstrates in detail that the video marketplace is more competitive than it ever has been.
Over the four years covered by the report, the range of MVPD options expanded, broadcasters increased
their number of multicast streams, distribution of video content over the Internet exploded, and the variety
of devices capable of displaying video programming grew dramatically. This is all good news, because
competition within and among market segments (broadcasters, MVPDs, and online video distributors)
Given the fast pace of change within the industry, it is vital that the Commission comply with its
statutory mandate to “annually report to Congress on the status of competition in the market for the
delivery of video programming.” 47 U.S.C. § 548(g). Our record on this score is a matter of public
record and need not be repeated here. I am hopeful, however, that we are back on track and that we will
release our next report in 2013.
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