Online video, cable's top competitor, could get a boost from the FCC
At the tails of CBS’s and HBO’s announcements to sell web TV subscriptions beginning this and next year, respectively, the Federal Communications Commission is mulling over a plan that could further expand the growing market of online video.
The FCC is considering reclassifying some online streaming services as “multichannel video programming distributors” under the same category as cable companies like Comcast or Verizon. That means that online streaming services that offer live broadcasts would be able to compete with cable companies to show scheduled programming from networks like Fox and CBS — even sporting events.
If enacted, the new reclassification might aide cord cutters in leaving their cable services if programming like live sports events and show premieres are available with an online subscription. Cable and broadband companies have already begun to raise the price of internet service in anticipation of cable cutters moving away from traditional television and towards online streaming services. Both Verizon and Comcast, for example, charge users similar rates for internet alone as for bundles with internet and cable.
Companies like Amazon and Google are also getting in on the online streaming action. Amazon just announced the launch of it’s Fire TV Stick to compete with Google’s Chromecast plug-in. Both cordlessly connect mobile devices to the television so that users can use apps to stream online on TVs. The devices would enable more people to abandon their cable subscriptions and switch to web subscriptions. That's something both Amazon and Google support since both have online video streaming services of their own.