FCC investigates if cable is killing the streaming star

Buggles_Video_Killed_the_Radio_StarThe FCC is probing whether or not cable operators have taken steps to intentionally harm the rise of streaming video.

Apparently there are claims that cable operators have been leaning on broadcasters to keep content from streaming service competitors. Dish Network effectively accused Charter of this back in December, when it claimed Charter was trying to “sabotage” Sling TV through “thinly veiled complaints to programmers.”

Of course there is unlikely to be a paper trail as no cable operator is likely to put these alleged threats on paper in any clear form, but the FCC appears to be getting some confirmation about these cable company demands from companies like HBO:

Disney said in a summary of its meeting with FCC officials that they asked about ways the pay-TV contracts can inhibit online TV.

“We submitted that the FCC should, of course, consider these issues” in the Charter-Time Warner Cable deal, Disney said.

In its meeting with the FCC, HBO and its parent firm raised concerns about possible retaliation by Charter against firms that put their content online. HBO recently started its own Internet-based service, HBO Now.

The FCC is of course expected to approve Charter’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, and the “probe” is likely tied to whatever conditions the agency applies to the deal.