The Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition has launched and is already voicing its opposition to rule-change recommendations made by the equally new Coalition for Local News.
The latter launched earlier this month, claiming support from a group of local broadcast stations, including ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS affiliates. One of the primary goals of the new Coalition for Local News is to get lawmakers and regulators to close a “streaming loophole” that takes away their inability to negotiate their own carriage rates.
The new Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition is claiming support from a variety of media companies and streaming content providers, including ABC, CBS, FOX, Fubo, NBC, Roku, Telemundo, Univision, and Warner Bros. Discovery.
As the coalition’s name suggests, the Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition wants to preserve the current rules in a bid “to protect consumer streaming choices and preserve a competitive online video marketplace.”
While The Coalition for Local News argues that blackouts will likely continue, resulting in more homes losing access to their local stations, the Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition argues any changes to the rules would result in online video providers and streaming platforms becoming “regulated like the cable industry of decades past.”
“In reality, these station group efforts are not about getting local TV content onto streaming platforms – that’s already happening. Rather, this is about trying to use government mandates to interfere with business negotiations,” said Bryce Harlow, spokesperson for the Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition.
The Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition further argues that the emergence of streaming has lead to greater diversity and competition, ultimately leading to more options for consumers.
“Consumers deserve the freedom to access diverse video content and enjoy a wealth of choices, which is why we oppose proposed regulation that would threaten that choice, stem innovation, and increase the cost to consumers,” said Harlow.
With one group arguing for change, and the other arguing that change has already happened, and for the better, this likely won’t be the last we hear from either side.
Update 3:15 PM (PDT): Following the Preserve Viewer Choice Coalition announcement, a spokesperson for the Coalition for Local News provided Streaming Better with the following statement in response:
“We don’t doubt the members of this newly launched coalition value local news – some of them even own local news stations, albeit as relatively small parts of much larger corporations. But the current system, which cuts local broadcasters out of the negotiation process for distributing our stations on the fastest growing streaming platforms, puts local news in existential danger. So instead of fighting us, we hope these companies will work with us to modernize the rules so that local news can endure during this time of immense change“