Congress eyes online video, ponders parity in the marketplace

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Congressional telecom leaders are interested in online video. That was the message their aides gave during a panel discussion about Congress's priorities for telecom and media legislation at the Cable Show here.

Both chambers of Congress have held hearings recently on potential video legislation. Should any video legislation proceed, it could affect online video, Greg Orlando, an aide to Sen. Roger Wicker (D-R, Miss), said. "We haven't had a proper hearing on over-the-top video, but I think any discussion in regard to the future video marketplace has to include that," he said.

One way that could play out would be for Congress to remove regulations affecting traditional pay-TV providers, Orlando said. "It's an idea of bringing parity to the marketplace," he said.

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) whose district includes parts of Silicon Valley, will work to make sure the "innovation taking place in the online video space" is not harmed by congress, said David Grossman, her senior adviser for technology policy.

An aide to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) who is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee--the committee through which any media legislation would have to pass before becoming law--said he expected the full committee to take another look at online video.

There's no guarantee congress will take up any online video-related legislation. But the industry has its attention.

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