Consumer groups want federal probe of TV Everywhere

TV Everywhere is taking heat from activists who say the strategy to bring broadcast TV to the Internet will cost consumers big bucks and risks giving a small group of companies the ability to control the burgeoning online video industry. A coalition of consumer groups, led by Free Press, Monday sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking it to investigate the matter.

In the letter, the groups claim that "TV Everywhere rests on an illegal agreement among competitors specifically designed to undermine emerging Internet-based competition and consumer choice in video programming delivery." It included a 40-page report that it says shows how TV Everywhere backers have worked to craft a plan that would undermine competition from Internet-based companies.

The head of cable industry group the National Cable & Telecommunications Association criticized the letter and the group's report, saying in a blog post that TV Everywhere was designed to actually stimulate competition and bring more options to the consumer.

"The call for an ‘investigation' of TV Everywhere has no factual or legal basis, no matter how many times Free Press and its allies repeat the words ‘collusion,' ‘cartel' and ‘illegal,'" wrote NCTA president and CEO Kyle McSlarrow. "In the name of protecting competition, they would actually reduce the amount of online content available to consumers."

Comcast launched its version of TV Everywhere, XFinity, Dec. 15.

For more:
- see a copy of the letter to the DOJ
- see the Free Press report
- see the NCTA response
- see the Washington Post article

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