Federal Internet Law & Policy
An Educational Project
Media :: Video Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY

"When television is good, nothing - not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers - nothing is better.

FCC Chair Newton Minnow
(cc) Wikipedia

But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.

You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endlessly commercials - many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you'll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few. And if you think I exaggerate, I only ask you to try it."

- FCC Chairman Newt Minow, 1961, Television and the Public Interest

National Broadband Plan, p. 17

Both consumers and businesses are turning to applications and content that use video. Video is quickly becoming an important element of many applications, including desktop video conference calls between family members and online training applications for businesses. Cisco forecasts that video consumption on fixed and mobile networks will grow at over 40% and 120% per year, respectively, through 2013.11

User-generated video and entertainment—from sites such as YouTube and Hulu—are a large portion of the total video traffic over broadband connections. Increasingly, video is embedded in traditional websites, such as news sites, and in applications such as teleconferencing. Skype reports that video calls account for over one-third of its total calls, and that number is growing rapidly.

Video, television (TV ) and broadband are converging in the home and on mobile handsets. The presence of broadband connections and TVs in the home could facilitate the development of a new medium for accessing the Web and watching video content. Traditional, or “linear,” television still accounts for more than 90% of all time spent watching video.

Video consumed over the Internet still represents a small portion of overall video consumption at less than 2% of all time spent viewing. Broadband-enabled video could grow as more innovative and user-friendly devices reach the home, allowing access to both traditional linear and Internet content via the TV.


"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 Applications of Comcast Corporation, General Electric Company and NBC Universal, Inc. for Consent to Assign Licenses and Transfer Control of Licensees, MB Docket No. 10-56, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 4238, 4357, App. A (2011) ("Comcast-NBCU Order"). Consumers need a broadband connection to receive video content from OVDs."  - 15th Report, Para 4

"The term “Online Video Distributor” or “OVD” means any entity that provides Video Programming by means of the Internet or other IP-based transmission path provided by a Person other than the OVD. Unless otherwise stated, an OVD does not include an MVPD inside its MVPD footprint or an MVPD to the extent it is offering Online Video Programming as a component of an MVPD subscription to customers whose homes are inside its MVPD footprint" - DirectTV Information and Discovery Requestion, MB Docket 14-90, DOC 329324A2

In re Promoting Innovation and Competition in the Provision of Multichannel Video Programming Distribution Services, MB Docket No. 14-261, NPRM n. 199 (Dec. 19, 2014) ("In this NPRM, we use the term OTT to refer to linear video services that travel over the public Internet and that cable operators do not treat as managed video services on any cable system." )

Role Video in Broadband Virtuous Cycle

Broadband changes everything. [Horrigan, The Broadband Difference, Pew 2002 (describing how end users move to an always-on environment in which they are able to utilize more applications more often)] Broadband created an always-on connection that could support bandwidth intensive applications and support multiple applications to multiple devices on a home network.  

Edge providers, observing a new audience with new capacity, innovated, creating new applications and services that could take advantage of the greater capacity and always-on connections. End users explored, experimented with, and adopted new applications and new means of interacting with and consuming online content and services. End user excitement and demand for new online services drove demand for true broadband Internet access (they needed more capacity). Internet access providers responded to end user demand by improving infrastructure, increasing their broadband service areas, and increasing their broadband capability in the markets where they served. Edge providers, observing a market with new capacity, innovated, created even better applications ~ and the virtuous circle drove innovation and broadband deployment. [Open Internet Order 2010 para. 14] [Greenstein, Network Neutrality at 129 (“Complementarity among inputs is almost synonymous with how the internet works, because what defines the modern internet is that it sends data from many locations to many locations. A broadband connection without access to any content is as useless as an online application without any broadband connectivity.”)] 

Fixed line broadband services, with their greater capacity, but lack of mobility, need to be able to differentiate themselves in the market from mobile Internet access services. [2016 Broadband Progress Report paras. 24, 35 (concluding that mobile and fixed broadband are not substitutes, stating "[a]s a service that is generally high in speed and network capacity, fixed broadband is better positioned than mobile to accommodate multiple simultaneously connected devices and bandwidth-heavy household uses, particularly streaming video services, which are increasingly popular with consumers.")] [National Broadband Plan at 41 ("A user who values little more than e-mail and browsing news sites has, in principle, many choices—nearly any broadband access technology will do. But a user who streams high-definition video and enjoys gaming probably requires high download and upload speeds and low latency. That user will likely have few choices.")]. Email, apps and webpages can be accessed anywhere anytime over mobile Internet services that are always with you. The ability to access and interact with high quality, resource intensive video, gaming, photography, virtual reality, and cloud computing sets fixed line broadband services apart and drives demand. [Charter / TWC Merger, Application and Public Interest Statement, Charter Corporation, at 23 n 56 (“Winfrey Decl. para. 10. Incentives to encourage OVD growth act as a spur to increased demand for high-speed broadband. As Dr. Scott Morton explains, “New Charter will have an increased incentive and ability to promote OVDs and other edge providers in order to encourage usage that expands subscribership to its broadband network.” Dr. Scott Morton Decl. para. 37.”)] [Comcast / Time Warner Cable Reply to Responses, MB Docket No.14-57, at 7 (Dec. 23, 2014) ("Comcast also lacks the incentive to degrade the traffic of edge providers, including OVDs, that are key complements to Comcast's high-growth broadband service in which Comcast has invested tens of billions of dollars. Comcast needs edge providers to offer attractive content, applications, and services so that existing and new Internet customers continue to demand Comcast's broadband service.")] [Charter Ex Parte, MB Dkt 15-149 at 6 ("The content offered by OVDs drives the growth of traffic on the Internet, and, in turn, the demand for high-speed data services which will have higher profit margins at New Charter than any other service will")] Data shows that the majority of traffic over fixed line broadband Internet is bandwidth intensive applications. CISCO data reveals that video “will be 82 percent of consumer Internet traffic by 2020, up from 70 percent in 2015.” [CISCO Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology 2015-2020, Cisco 3 (2016)] [Sandvine Report: Netflix and Youtube Account for 50% of All North American Fixed Network Data, Sandvine (Nov. 11, 2013), ("Sandvine data on end user behavior reveals that bandwidth intensive applications dominate fixed line broadband service, with Netflix’s service in 2013 making up 31.6 percent of access network traffic, and YouTube making up another 18.6 percent of access traffic, for a combined total of 50.2 percent of traffic.  Other top sources of traffic included BitTorrent, MPEG, Hulu, iTunes and Flash Video.")] Consistent with the virtuous circle, bandwidth demanding services such as Netflix and YouTube drive consumer demand for broadband, greater demand for broadband drives broadband investment, and improved broadband networks enables innovation and creation of new online services. 





Table 7: MVPD Video Subscribers (in millions) from FCC Report 2013

End of Year 2010
End of June 2011
End of Year 2011
End of June 2012
MVPD Total
All Other Cable
DISH Network
AT&T U Verse
Verizon Fios
All Other Telephone


Online Video Deliver (OVD) Era Begins

Color Television Era

Cable Television Era

Black and White Television Era

Color Movie Era

Silent Movie Era


Content Distributors


End Users / Consumers / Subscribers