Charter declares itself 'the most friendly' operator to OVDs; Netflix's Hastings agrees

Following complaints to the FCC by HBO that its mergers with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House Networks would hurt over-the-top competition, Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) used its company blog to declare itself "the most friendly operator to online video distributors."

And in making that claim, the MSO received support from none other than Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings, who used his company's fourth-quarter earnings report to declare the mergers as a "tremendous positive" for OTT distributors.

Regulatory approval of Charter's proposed unions, Hastings said, would represent a "huge step forward for U.S. policy [with respect] to OTT."

Meanwhile, referencing Hastings support in an appropriately timed blog post, Charter said: "As we have demonstrated, there is no more OVD-friendly provider than Charter, with our slowest speed at 60 Mbps, no data caps, no usage-based billing, no annual contracts and no modem fees. Additionally, we've committed that New Charter will offering settlement-free peering to Internet companies, which means we will continue to invest in interconnection to avoid congestion."

Last week, executives for Time Warner Inc. and its HBO division met with FCC officials, warning them that approving the mergers would have the "effect of slowing down the development of OTT options to the detriment of consumers."

In making these claims, HBO cited public comments made by Charter executives, including company President and CEO Tom Rutledge, as well as private discussions.

These claims mirrored one of several warnings put to the FCC last month by Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH). 

The Dish and Time Warner Inc. complaints were enough to trigger alarm bells for BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield, who noted that the complaints by "Time Warner and its HBO division has us wondering if we should be less confident in deal approval than we currently are."

For more:
- read this Charter Communications blog post
- read this Multichannel News story

Related articles:
HBO warns that Charter-TWC merger poses risks to online video
New York state signs off on Charter's TWC purchase
FCC delays Charter-Time Warner Cable merger review by two weeks

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