Originally published: May 20, 2012
Last updated: May 20, 2012 - 8:30pm
[Commentary] The principal way that television stations can restore their ubiquity is by streaming their signals online — their entire signals, 24/7 — just as they broadcast them. The Internet is a path to all those second and third screens.
TV is way behind radio on this front. As far as I know, not a single TV station is being simulcast online. It's a sad state of affairs. TV broadcasting is still reliant mostly on advertising revenue and the only way to reverse the long slide in viewership is for stations to break out of the box in the living room and leap onto the Internet. The reason they don't is because they can't. They don't control the online rights to the network and syndicated programming that comprises much of their schedule, and the networks and syndicators for the most part don't want to give them those rights. The Federal Communications Commission is considering whether it should regulate online video distributors (OVDs) just as it now does cable and satellite operators — or, legally speaking, multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs). Such regulation would bring with it entitlements and obligations.
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