FCC Pepper Talks Sling, Podcasting and Consumers


robert pepper Robert Pepper, acting chief of the FCC’s Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis, in a speech professed his love for broadband, consumers and Sling Media. One of the few officials to understand the game changing impact of broadband, he pointed out that faster pipes and cheap storage are changing rules of the game for broadcasting business.

He was giving a keynote at NAB in Las Vegas. He predicted new methods of content consumption and gave a lot of respect to Sling Media.

Pepper pointed to faster, newer technologies that offer key benefits: cheaper storage, better broadband speeds and dramatic improvements in compression. Take the plummeting cost of storage. The cost of storing video today is around $1.35 per hour. In 2010, Pepper predicted the cost would fall to around 2 cents an hour.

“The mix of broadband and compression and cheap storage are giving consumers more choice and more control,’ Pepper said, noting the proliferation of interactive games, online gaming and podcasting. “The world is becoming more interactive,” he said, and the goal for broadcasters is to understand that and embrace the change. ‘Consumers are the drivers … and broadcasters need to find a way to use these new technologies to reinvent broadcasting for the next 50 years,’ Pepper said.

If only the pipe owners understood that – that would really changed everything!



Om said: “If only the pipe owners understood that – that would really changed everything! “.

Pipe owners do understand this. The problem is that the pipes aren’t designed to handle the sustained transfer rates that video requires if a lot of people are using it. Even the limited BitTorrent usage makes up a cig chunk of the internet load – imagine if people we all getting 3-4 hours/day of video. The pipe people wouldn’t be making enough money to make the additional invenstment worth it.

Jesse Kopelman

It’s not about reinventing broadcasting, it is about supplanting it. All you can ever do with broadcasting is find ways to offer more channels. This means, however, that each channel becomes less valuable and the only way to keep growing a broadcast company is through buying up the competition. This in turn results in the combined channels losing their diversity. Thus, the who process is self defeating. At a certain point, content on demand becomes feasible and then who cares how many broadcast channels there are when one can order up exactly what one wants when one wants it.

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