Video Marketplace: Competition Is Evolving, and Government Reporting Should Be Reevaluated Page: 5 of 44
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A Ok U.S. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE
441 G St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20548
June 25, 2013
The Honorable Mignon Clyburn
Federal Communications Commission
Dear Chairwoman Clyburn:
Video provided through cable and satellite television services is a central
source of entertainment, news, and other information for most American
households. Today, over 100-million U.S. households subscribe to and
rely on these television services, viewing on average more than 140
hours of content every month. Federal laws and regulations, including the
Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 and
the Telecommunications Act of 1996, sought to foster competition in the
video programming and distribution marketplace. These laws and
regulations were essential to the emergence and growth of direct
broadcast satellite (DBS) television service in the late 1990s and early
2000s, which saw DBS companies gain market share at the expense of
traditional cable companies. More recently, competition from new
entrants-most prominently traditional telephone companies-has
increased in some areas of the country. In addition, advances in
digitalization and Internet infrastructure have ushered in a wave of new
products and services, bringing online distribution of video through
services such as Netflix and YouTube to consumers. Some consumer
advocates, industry stakeholders, and policymakers have expressed
concern that laws and regulations, first adopted in the 1990s, are no
longer adequate to address changing competition in the emerging digital
environment. And despite the myriad of technological and other changes,
the rates paid by consumers for subscription video services continue to
increase at a faster pace than the general rate of inflation.
We examined (1) how competition has changed since 2005; (2) the
increased choices that consumers have in acquiring video programming
and content; (3) the factors that can spur or hinder competition; and (4)
stakeholders' views on how the federal government's regulations, reports,
and other activities have kept pace with changes in the industry.
To address these questions, we reviewed relevant literature and reports
published since 2005. In particular, we conducted a literature search and
reviewed relevant articles on competition, technology, and economics in
the video programming and distribution marketplace, including academic
GAO-13-576 Video Competition
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Video Marketplace: Competition Is Evolving, and Government Reporting Should Be Reevaluated, report, June 25, 2013; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc298600/m1/5/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.