Antitrust Lawyer Blog Commentary on Current Developments

Internet Video Distributor VDC Complains to FCC about Inability to Secure Carriage Deals with Established Cable Networks

In an August 14 letter to the FCC, internet video distributor VDC Corp. (“VDC”), owner of VDC.com, complained that it is having difficulty securing carriage deals with established cable networks. While VDC.com distributes content from Discovery Communications, most of the company's carriage deals are with smaller cable networks such as The Pentagon Channel and Mav TV. The broadband video site also carries home-shopping channels QVC and ShopNBC. VDC chairman Scott Wolf said that VDC plans to seek relief from the FCC “in the next few weeks” under the FCC's program access rules. In his letter to FCC chairman Kevin Martin, Wolf alleges that some cable networks are balking at licensing their networks to VDC.com because of “external influence, mainly from the large [cable] MSOs.”
“Smaller channels like Anime Network, for example, have been afraid to license their channel to us, for fear of being thrown off the large cable systems. In this environment, it is already hard enough for smaller networks to become viable, it is unfair that their distribution options are limited because of pressure from large cable operators,” writes Wolf. He also said that VDC has been unable to reach a carriage agreement to carry C-SPAN's networks, even though C-SPAN has carriage deals with cable rivals such as MobiTV and AT&T's U-verse TV system.

For more information contact:

Olev Jaakson at ojaakson@dbmlawgroup.com.