McSlarrow: Free Press Crying 'Collusion' In Crowded, Competitive Marketplace


National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Kyle McSlarrow issue an extensive statement Monday branding Free Press's suggestion that  "TV Everywhere" is collusion 'strange' at best, and vigorously defending what he called an effort to come up with one of a number of experiments to come up with a business model for compensating programmers for online content.

Free Press wants Congress and the Justice Department to investigate TV Everywhere for possible collusion among its cable, satellite and telco participants.

"The call for an 'investigation' of TV Everywhere has no factual or legal basis no matter how many times Free Press and its allies repeat the words 'collusion,' 'cartel' and 'illegal.' In the name of protecting competition, they would actually reduce the amount of online content available to consumers," he said.

McSlarrow suggested that TV Everywhere would increase the content available online "at no extra charge," thus promoting the broadband adoption the FCC is so keen on. "Free Press' theory seems to be that TV Everywhere poses a threat 'to kill' online video competition because it would only be available to cable and other pay TV subscribers. But they get it exactly backwards: it is an effort to ensure more content than ever is distributed over the Internet at no extra charge to consumers," said McSlarrow.

"As much as Free Press would like to suggest that something is radically different in this case, the TV Everywhere model would be nothing more than content owners extending their copyright licenses to allow multichannel video providers to make their programming available online."

He also suggested TV Everywhere was a work in progress.

"The fact that market participants are experimenting with models in addition to fee or advertiser-supported models is not a sign of anti-competitive conduct," he said. "It is a sign of a dynamic and rapidly-changing market in which no one knows the ultimate outcome."