John Eggerton

FCC Chairman Wheeler Seeks Documents From Time Warner Cable

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler told Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus in no uncertain terms that he has "strong concern" that TWC’s actions "have created the inability of consumers in the Los Angeles area to watch televised games of the Los Angeles Dodgers."

Chairman Wheeler vowed that the FCC would "intervene as appropriate" to bring "necessary relief to consumers." He has given TWC 10 days to provide some relevant documents, including copies of documents, and an explanation of the impasse.

FCC Seeks Comment On Mediacom Unbundling Petition

The Federal Communications Commission has put out for public notice Mediacom's request that the FCC force media conglomerates to unbundle their package programming deals.

Rep Latta Urges Senators to Pass STELAR

Rep Bob Latta (R-OH), vice chairman of the House Communications Subcommittee, has asked Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Committee Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD) to vote on and approve the House version of the STELA Reauthorization Act, which passed in the House.

Reps Latta and Gene Green (R-TX), who also signed the letter, point out that the House bill was bipartisan, that STELA needs to pass by the end of 2014 and that it includes targeted video reforms.

Court Finds FilmOn in Contempt

New York District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald has found FilmOn in contempt for continuing to deliver network TV station signals over the Internet after the Supreme Court found similar service Aereo in violation of copyright.

Judge Buchwald said, "FilmOn is not entitled to a license under § 111, and its retransmissions clearly and unambiguously fall under the scope of conduct barred by the Injunction." FilmOn will appeal the decision.

Mediacom Exec Asks Sen McCaskill To Widen Bill Data Net

Tom Larsen, group VP of cable operator Mediacom, has written Senate Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chairman Claire McCaskill (D-MO) suggesting that as part of her inquiry into pay-TV bills, she should ask Missouri broadcasters to disclose the rates they charge multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) for carriage of their stations.

That way, he says, she can better determine how much of a cable or satellite bill goes to those station owners, the rate at which that payment is rising, how much or little of that is being reinvested locally and more.

NAB: Exclusivity Rules Are Crucial

The National Association of Broadcasters has quantified for the Federal Communications Commission what it says are the significant economic benefits of network nonduplication and syndicated exclusivity rules.

In reply comments in the FCC's inquiry into retransmission consent regulations, NAB offered up a Compass Lexecon study of ratings changes for 10 TV stations that did not have the exclusive rights to affiliate and syndicated programming until they petitioned the FCC for waivers that were granted.

The study says the stations' Nielsen ratings were projected to be 24.4% higher in prime time than they would have been without that exclusive programming. "Elimination or weakening of the Commissions' exclusivity rules is likely to have an economically significant impact on local stations and their incentives to invest," the study said.

DOJ: Make Unauthorized Streaming a Felony

The Justice Department continues to press the Congress to clarify that Internet streaming can be prosecuted as a felony and not just a misdemeanor.

Felony prosecution would mean larger penalties, and DOJ argues, better deterrence to online pirates.

Rep Barton: LPTV Bill Is 'Just Right'

The Low-powered TV (LPTV) and Translator Preservation Act of 2014, introduced by Rep Joe Barton (R-TX), was one of the subjects of the July 24 House Communications Subcommittee hearing.

The bill is intended to insure that the Federal Communications Commission takes into account the value of low-power TV stations, TV station translators and boosters when it repacks stations after the broadband incentive auctions.

The bill does not change those stations' secondary status. Some LPTV supporters do not support the bill because the FCC can force the stations to go dark if not to do so would adversely affect repacking. But it would require the FCC to take that value into account when deciding the fate of those stations, which other avowed LPTV supporters say could jeopardize the auction repacking for not much upside given that it does not change their regulatory status.

House Republicans: Something Smells Rotten at FCC

The leadership of the House Commerce Committee and Communications Subcommittee said that something "smells rotten on the [Federal Communications Commission's] 8th Floor" -- where the commissioner offices are located -- and that a report about a waiver related to an upcoming auction raises "a cloud of favoritism."

Rep Fred Upton (R-MI) and Greg Walden (R-OR), chairman of the full committee and subcommittee, respectively, were responding to a Bloomberg News story that the FCC had granted a waiver to a private equity firm and Obama supporter, Grain Management, and had done so in a nonpublic 3-2 vote.

AT&T: State Reviews of DirecTV Merger Complete

AT&T Chief Financial Officer John Stephens told Wall Street that the states that have been reviewing its proposed merger with DirecTV have concluded those reviews without proposing any conditions.

Those states are Arizona, Louisiana and Hawaii, all of which had "unique statutes or commission rules for the transfer," said a source familiar with the reviews.

The Federal Communications Commission won't open the docket on the proposal until it has confirmed that A&T's filings square with FCC rules and it has outlined how sensitive information collected from the companies and others as part of its review will be treated.