Fourteen leading Latino advocacy organizations, television networks, and content producers announced today that they have joined the Future of TV Coalition, voicing strong opposition to a proposal unveiled by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last week to radically rewrite the rules of the video marketplace.
The organizations also sent a letter to the FCC explaining their opposition to Chairman Wheeler’s plan, observing that it mirrors the “AllVid” proposal previously rejected by the FCC in 2010. The proposal would allow Silicon Valley tech companies to repackage TV programming into their own products without having to pay for it or honor the terms of licensing contracts negotiated between the programmers and distributors.
The organizations joining the Coalition include: ASPIRA, Dialogue on Diversity, FGTV, Freemind Beauty, Hispanic Leadership Fund, Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), MANA, National Puerto Rican Coalition, SER Jobs for Progress, TechLatino: The Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, and VMe TV.
Jose Marquez, the President & CEO of TechLatino: The Latinos in Information Science and Technology Association, explained why his organization is joining the fight against AllVid:
“Chairman Wheeler’s plan is a sweetheart deal for Silicon Valley that comes at the expense of entrepreneurs and content creators who are serving minority audiences and building businesses in our communities. All Americans deserve media platforms that tell stories for and about their communities, but AllVid will undermine diverse platforms and make it harder to find the high-quality programming our community deserves.”
These concerns were echoed by Victor Cerda, the Senior Vice President of VMe TV, a Spanish-language network available in 70 million U.S. households:
“If Google wants to include our programming in their products and services, we’d be excited to sit down and negotiate a licensing deal with them. But instead they’re asking the FCC to give them access to our programming for free, along with permission to ignore the terms in our licensing contracts that protect our channel placement and visibility.”
Rosa Mendoza, Executive Director of the Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP,) pushed back against the argument made by some AllVid proponents that minority audiences would be better served by streaming-only digital channels:
“We applaud entrepreneurs working to launch new platforms through web-based streaming services — digital channels that are already widely accessible alongside pay-TV apps on a huge array of consumer devices. But encouraging these voices must not come at the cost of tearing down the full-fledged networks that are serving our community today. Latino networks are more than just a voice for our community. They’re an engine of economic empowerment — an engine that will break down if the FCC lets Silicon Valley tech giants poach and monetize their content without having to pay for it.”
The letter the organizations sent to the FCC also highlighted significant doubts about claims from AllVid supporters that the new rule will save consumers money:
“Experts who studied these issues for the FCC warn that the rule would require a new adapter device to be designed, manufactured, and installed in every viewer’s home and paid for on their monthly bills, and that’s on top of buying a new AllVid device at retail… This proposal seems likely to drive up costs for consumers.”
About the Future of TV Coalition:
The Future of Television Coalition is comprised of 63 companies, associations, and non-profit organizations that support market-based innovation offering TV viewers an unprecedented volume of high-quality, diverse programming available on an expanding universe of devices and services. The coalition opposes unnecessary technology mandates, such as Chairman Wheeler’s proposed AllVid rule, that would threaten this innovation and diversity. Learn more at FutureOfTV.com.