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FCC to investigate cable companies’ influence over media firms

29 February 2016 Entertainment News

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Federal Communications Commission is investigating whether major cable firms are discouraging media companies to run their programming online by using special contract provisions.

The probe is part of the regulator's broader attempt to address television's slow approach to the Internet, despite technical advancements made through the years.

Analysts expect the agency will step in to remove such contracts by Time Warner Cable Inc. and Charter Communications Inc., as the FCC decides on the two major cable firms' planned merger. Consumer groups hope that change will carry on to cover the entire industry.

A number of big media companies such as HBO, 21st Century Fox and Walt Disney were recently invited by the FCC to discuss their issues about the clauses, according to public disclosures.

HBO raised its concerns with the FCC concerning possible retaliation by Charter against media companies that offer their content on the Internet. HBO recently launched its own Internet-based service, HBO Now.