We’ve discussed the benefits and drawbacks for cable and the competition when it comes to the FCC’s set-top box proposal, but we haven’t looked at it from Hollywood’s perspective.
A number of entertainment industry groups, including the MPAA, SAG-AFTRA, the Recording Industry Assn. of America and the Directors Guild of America, and others representing content creators, expressed fierce opposition to the FCC proposal to compel cable and satellite TV providers to open their set-top box platforms to competition.
The groups filed comments back in late April expressing concerns that the move would have an adverse impact on content creators’ ability to protect copyright and be compensated for their work, according to a joint announcement.
The FCC did vote in favor of the set-top box rule in the beginning of May 2016 and moved forward with opening up a set-top box market by establishing a technical platform allowing third-party manufacturers like Apple, Google, Roku, and more to create their own set-tops capable of receiving cable or satellite TV programming.
What’s Hollywood saying?
In a joint filing, 21st Century Fox, A&E Television Networks, CBS, Scripps Networks Interactive, Time Warner. Viacom and the Walt Disney Co. said that content provided to current distributors be also distributed to manufacturers and app developers. This way all parties involved can take responsibility for this purchased content and the way it’s distributed to customers.
Content providers, such as Walt Disney Co., are afraid that the third party companies coming in to obtain this content will try and gain all the profit without incurring any of the obligations that effectively safeguard and promote valuable programming. The FCC’s proposal reduces incentives for content providers to continue generating new content for consumers’ enjoyment which in turn will hurt customers and potential profits.
Cable and satellite have made it very apparent that they are not for this decision as it will infringe on copyright and the impact on their consumer’s privacy. Cable has been coming up with other options though to help themselves and their customers, such as Comcast and their app solution.
The main goal the FCC is trying to provide is equal opportunity for providers and accessibility to relevant content and ways of sharing that to viewers. One thing Tom Wheeler said regarding this dispute was Cable operators, you can go ahead and control your product but have an open platform so that anyone can build a device and let’s compete on who can offer the better device.
As mentioned, some cable companies have already begun developing new devices or ideas that will support customer needs and also help providers make up lost potential profit from the set-top boxes.
It’s all about who plays the game the smartest and quickest.