Apple, Amazon and other big online video distributors tell FCC not to regulate them as MVPDs

A group of large technology companies including Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) are asking the FCC not to move forward with plans to regulate online video operators as MVPDs.

"Subjecting newly covered OVDs [online video distributors] to regulations adopted for facilities-based MVPDs could adversely affect the continued growth of the marketplace for online video content," said Gregory Barnes, general counsel for the Digital Media Association, which represents the tech companies, in an ex parte filing to the FCC last week.

"As such, we urged the commission to refrain from imposing the numerous existing MVPD-tailored obligations on OVDs, as they continue to experiment to meet the demands of a quickly-evolving market," added Barnes.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said the reclassification is necessary to spur competition in the pay-TV market, with large cable, satellite and IPTV companies beginning to migrate their own services to online video.

Meanwhile, smaller online video companies, like FilmOn, have championed the rule change as it would mandate programmers to negotiate content licensing deals with them. Broadcasters currently want nothing to do with FilmOn. In fact, they're currently trying to vanquish the streaming service in federal court, claiming it has infringed on their copyrights. FilmOn is looking for a legal way to acquire their programming.

For its part, MVPD reclassification might only provide a larger company like Apple with more online video competition. The company is reportedly currently working with broadcasters to launch its own OTT-delivered pay-TV service. It doesn't need compulsory licensing to get deals done. 

In its ex parte filing, the Digital Media Association advises a "flexible approach allowing those OVDs that the Commission believes would benefit from MVPD status with the ability to decide whether to receive such benefits and be subject to the attendant responsibilities associated with such a decision."

For more:
- read this FCC filing
- read this blog posting from Katie on the Hill

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