Deadline Big Media 80 – Comcast Goes To Congress Podcast

By and | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 5:22pm PDT

Deadline Big Media ep 80In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s executive editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom untangle the latest twists in the giant Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger proposal, as a Senate committee grills Comcast’s “Jedi Master” of a chief lobbyist and Charter prepares a challenge at the TWC annual meeting. The Davids also talk about the very different tone of two just-signed retransmission deals, at least compared to last year’s Time Warner Cable-CBS brawl; how IMAX reduced its stake in China while increasing its influence; and this week’s National Association of Broadcasters conference, where FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler urged broadcasters to think like “tech disruptors” and NAB chief Gordon Smith called for a federal plan for broadcasting.

Deadline Big Media podcast 80 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Big Media podcast 80 (.M4A version)

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House Committees Begin Process To Shape An “Internet Era” Communications Act

The effort to craft the first major revision of the Communications Act in 18 years could be interesting but probably will end up to be a politically factious mess. Television production technology conceptHouse Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said today that he plans hearings and studies for “a multi-year effort to examine our nation’s communications laws and update them for the Internet era.” Upton was joined in a Google Hangout announcement by Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., who says that they “plan to look at the Communications Act and all of the changes that have been made piecemeal over the last 89 years and ask the simple question: ‘Is this working for today’s communications marketplace?’” For example, he says that cable operators complained to him that they have to pay franchise fees but Netflix doesn’t. The GOP leaders didn’t include Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who’s also on the Communications subcommittee — and says he helped to write “every major telecommunications statute for the past three decades.” He urged his colleagues to proceed “with great care and attention to detail” and “in a bipartisan manner.” Read More »

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Bill Would Empower FCC To Protect Pay TV Subscribers In Retransmission Disputes

The proposal today from Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif) offers just the kinds of reforms that pay TV execs want, especially following the recent 32-day blackout of CBS-owned properties on Time Warner Cable systems. Many cable and satellite providers say that they’re virtually powerless to resist broadcasters who demand big price increases for the right to retransmit their shows. The ranking Democrat on the House Communications Subcommittee says her Video CHOICE Act would change that and ensure that pay TV subscribers aren’t  ”caught in the middle of a dispute they have no control over.” Her bill would give the FCC the authority to keep local TV stations on cable or satellite systems during negotiations. The proposal would bar owners of broadcast stations from making deals that also require pay TV providers to carry the company’s cable channels. It would give subscribers the freedom to order pay TV service without broadcast channels that demand high retransmission fees. (The signals are available for free to anyone with an antenna.) The Act also calls on the FCC to study the impact of sports networks on pay TV costs in the 20 largest regional sports markets. Eshoo offered her bill ahead of her subcommittee’s hearing this week to consider extending the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act — which expires at the end of 2014 — and to renew the FCC’s power to step in to retransmission disputes if it believes at least one side isn’t negotiating in good faith. Read More »

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Congress Launches Creative Rights Caucus To Promote Copyright Protection

By | Thursday February 21, 2013 @ 3:09pm PST

Congressional Creative Rights CaucusThe creative community has a new voice in Washington. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) have launched the Congressional Creative Rights Caucus, which aims to educate Congress and … Read More »

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Senate Panel Ponders Supreme Court TV; Specter Says C-SPAN “Ready, Willing”

By | Tuesday December 6, 2011 @ 10:59am PST

A Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday debated whether Congress could force the Supreme Court to allow cameras to broadcast arguments live — or whether it even should. The sticking point, of course, is that whole separation of powers thing. … Read More »

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MPAA: Movie Piracy Downright Un-American

By | Wednesday April 6, 2011 @ 8:22am PDT
Mike Fleming

In a hearing held today by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet Subcommittee on the negative impacts of movie content thieves, MPAA vice president Michael O’Leary made the battle against movie pirates sound downright patriotic. … Read More »

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Congress Members Speak Out On Harms Of IP Theft

By | Monday April 4, 2011 @ 1:28pm PDT

Ahead of a House Judiciary Committee meeting Wednesday that will look at how to combat online IP theft, members of both the House and Senate talked today about the continuing harm the practice causes the U.S. economy. The reaffirmation was welcome news to Hollywood’s unions and guilds, who have long urged Washington to make tougher laws. Read More »

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