The Case for Program Carriage Reform
The Federal Communications Commission now has an opportunity to rethink its misguided aggressive regulatory approach to program carriage. Now is the time for the FCC to consider a deregulatory, free market approach that avoids a myopic look at the “cable” market. Instead, it must take a holistic view of the video programming choices that cable, direct broadcast satellite, telephone company entrants, over-the-air, mobile, and various Internet-based distributors now offer consumers. After Comcast v. FCC, the Commission must recalibrate its program carriage regulations to account for today’s convergent, platform-rivalrous video services market. The Commission should reframe its regulations to comport with the consumer welfare and market power standard that the statute calls for and which the First Amendment demands.