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Senate Seeks Information on MVPDs and OTT Video Service

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Why is the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations sending out subpoenas to pay TV providers? According to a tantalizing report from Multichannel News, several cable and satellite operators have received subpoenas seeking information related to over-the-top (OTT) services. Requested information includes video pricing.

In its report, Multichannel News notes that the Senate will soon take the lead in reviewing communications laws, and part of that review includes determining how the government should treat OTT video providers and how ISPs should treat OTT services, as well. It speculates that these letters might be gathering data for upcoming Senate hearings on overhauling the Communications Act.

Providing access to various OTT video services is an important factor to the FCC when reviewing cable or telco ISP merger proposals with program distributors, the report notes. In December 2014, the FCC proposed changing the definition of multichannel video program distributor (MVPD) to include OTT services. At this year's NAB conference, FCC commissioner Ajit Pai moderated a discussion on that proposal. He noted that the internet is redefining video, and said the trend that mattered the most to the FCC is that more distributors are creating channel bundles as an alternative to cable or satellite services.

"The internet is reshaping the video marketplace in ways we're only beginning to see," Pai said.

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