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Quarterly Wrap-up

Consumer first-quarter 2014: analysis and outlook v1.0

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. The great pay-TV restructuring
  3. Net neutrality 2.0
  4. Music licensing
  5. We interrupt this broadcast
  6. Peer pressure
  7. Near-term outlook
  8. Key takeaways
  9. About Paul Sweeting


The first quarter of 2014 was marked by controversies that dragged key elements of the connected-consumer space into the public policy arena – dangerous and unpredictable territory for any industry. From the review of Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable to the FCC’s proposed reboot of its overturned net neutrality rules, policymakers are playing a key role in shaping the future course of both old and new media industries.

Among the key developments:

  • Comcast announced plans to acquire Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, combining the two largest cable MSOs in the country and touching off fierce debate over media ownership, net neutrality, broadband access and antitrust issues just as the MVPD business is poised for further consolidation.
  • FCC chairman Tom Wheeler announced plans to re-impose net neutrality rules after a federal appeals court rejected the agencies previous rules but
  • A keenly watched court showdown between Pandora and ASCAP ended inconclusively, which is likely to pitch the ongoing debate over music performance rights back to Congress.
  • Broadcasters will have their own courtroom showdown over performance licensing with Aereo, but even a win there won’t fully resolve the issue.
  • Netflix’s transit and interconnection deal with Comcast thrust internet peering into the policy spotlight in the first quarter but for now the FCC is keeping its powder dry on the issue.

Thumbnail image courtesy of FikMik/Thinkstock.

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