American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka in a statement commended Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, for his April 24 hearing that explored the future of online video programming within the current legal and regulatory structure.
"ACA commends Sen. Rockefeller for convening this hearing to continue the Committee's critical discussion on the distribution of video programming. ACA believes our existing laws governing this space are badly outdated and do not serve consumers in the manner they should expect in the 21st Century. Based upon the comments and questions we heard today, we believe many Senators feel the same way," Polka said.
The two-hour hearing was attended by Republican and Democratic Senators, including some interested in passing new legislation designed to update copyright and telecommunications law. The hearing also included testimony from business executives at IAC, Nielsen Company, Amazon.com and Microsoft, reflecting a variety of opinions and outlooks on the evolving world of video programming available online for streaming and downloading.
"We are pleased by the many comments of Senators in attendance that there was bipartisan awareness that the current regulatory regime is not keeping pace with changes in the market. Their interest in today's hearing and their calls for further work by the Committee are precisely what our membership believes is necessary as well," Polka said.
Polka concluded, "ACA is hopeful that in subsequent hearings, lawmakers will discuss changes needed to today's rules and regulations that will allow independent cable operators to offer consumers more choice and value in the selection of video programming, including innovative online services. Today, media giants that control broadcasting and cable programming assets do not provide any flexibility to offer consumers something other than a programming package stuffed with hundreds of channels they are required to purchase in order to view a handful of their favorite channels."