DP9316 | Cable Regulation in the Internet Era

Publication Date

27/01/2013

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Abstract

The market for multi-channel video programming has undergone considerable change in the last 15 years. Direct-Broadcast Satellite service, spurred by 1999 legislation that leveled the playing field with cable television systems, has grown from 3% to 33% of the U.S. MVPD (cable, satellite, and telco video) market. Telephone operators have entered in some parts of the US and online video distributors are a growing source of television viewing. This chapter considers the merits of cable television regulation in light of these developments. It surveys the dismal empirical record on the effects of price regulation in cable and the more encouraging but incomplete evidence on the benefits of satellite and telco competition. It concludes with a consideration of four open issues in cable markets: horizontal concentration and vertical integration in the programming market, bundling by both cable systems and programmers, online video distribution, and temporary programming blackouts from failed carriage negotiations for both broadcast and cable programming. While the distribution market is clearly now more competitive, concerns in each of these areas remain.