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Commission begins annual look at competition in video programming

The FCC began its annual process Aug. 12 to access how competitive the delivery of video programming is in the United States with the release of a Notice of Inquiry.

Mandated by Congress, the yearly commission assessment evaluates the status of competition in the market and changes that have occurred since the last annual report.

In the notice, the commission seeks information on prospects for new entrants into the market, factors easing or impeding competition and the effect of competition on industry groups and consumers. The commission expects to send the 2005 Competition Report to Congress by the end of the year.

The commission considers a wide group of players to make up the video delivery market, including: cable systems, direct broadcast satellite providers, large home satellite dish or C-Band dish providers, broadband service providers, private cable or satellite master antenna television systems, open video systems, multichannel multipoint distribution services or wireless cable systems, local exchange carrier systems, utility-operated systems, and over-the-air broadcast television stations.

The FCC also wants information on video programming distributed on videocassettes and DVDs through retail distribution outlets, and on video programming distributed over the Internet and via Internet Protocol (IP) networks.

Other areas the commission wishes to examine for the report include:

  • Horizontal concentration in the video marketplace;
  • Vertical integration between program distributors and program services;
  • Equipment and emerging services;
  • Foreign markets.

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