You know a market has reached some new phase when data has to be collected about a segment of a market that never had been tracked before. That appears to be the case for the next report on video competition that the Federal Communication Commission has been tracking for decades.
“In the Comcast-NBC Universal transaction, we found that if viewers are able to watch television and other programming online, when they want, that OVD (online video distributors) service will compete against Comcast’s DVR and on demand services, and thereby affect the number of people who subscribe to its traditional MVPD service,” the FCC says. “In the Comcast-NBC Universal transaction, we also found that while most consumers view OVD service today as a complement rather than a substitute for MVPD service, Comcast has an incentive and ability to diminish the potential competitive threat from these new services.
Since 1992, when the U.S. Congress required the Commission to report annually on the status of competition in the market for the delivery of video programming, the FCC has dutifully produced a report on the status of competition, with most of the attention on cable TV, satellite and telco TV services.
Of particular note, the next report will include data on online video distributors for the first time.
One would expect to find names such as Hulu, Apple’s iTunes, Wal-Mart’s Vudu or Netflix on that list, but nbc.com, wabc.com, and Hallmarkchannel.com, also are over the top providers the FCC likely will want profiled.
The FCC also says it will be seeking information on business models, revenue approaches and competitive strategies, challenges, marketing strategies and the degree to which online services are alternatives or complementary to multichannel video services.
Because distributors increasingly negotiate directly with content creators for non-linear forms of content distribution, including video on demand and online video distribution, the FCC plans to look more closely at content creator as well.
The FCC will request data, information, and comment on the number and size of content creators and the evolving relationship between content creators and the firms that distribute video content.
Of course, there now are other important gateways to online content, namely devices that enable users to watch videos on their computers, such as set-top boxes made by Roku, Boxee, Kylo, and Apple TV, and game consoles such as Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation), or Blu-Ray players.
TiVo, Apple’s iPad and retail set-tops also apparently will be included in the report.