[opendtv] Re: Does Netflix/Comcast Deal Remove Obstacle To TWC Merger? - Forbes

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2014 00:15:46 +0000

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

> There are three oligopolies Bert: content, video distribution and ISPs.
> The last two are mostly the same company in each market.

Yes agreed so far. But this goes to the crux of our disagreements.

1. The ISPs are typically local monopolies, although hopefully 4G cellular 
could change that. So, as long as ISPs remain **strictly** standards-based and 
**strictly** content-neutral, I can live with that. Just as I do with my 
electric and water utilities. Same plumbing standards, same voltage and 
frequency standards, same Ethernet and IP standards, no matter which of these 
utilities you use. I don't have to go begging hat in hand to my power utility 
to buy a light bulb, Craig.

2. The content owners compete over the neutral Internet medium and the neutral 
OTA medium. You might call them oligopolies, but at least there are 6 or more 
of them. And vast amounts of others on the Internet, even if not necessarily in 

3. But for those with MVPD subscriptions, the "video distribution" live streams 
aspect is in practice a local monopoly. That's the only non-standards-based 
monopoly in the bunch.

> Operating a walled garden that uses satellites or cables/fibers to
> deliver video streams versus IP packets is just a matter of technical
> semantics:

No, it's not. The IP distribution medium has miraculously remained neutral and 
standards-based, so that EVEN IF your ISP is an MVPD, the IP fraction of its 
bandwidth is still usable by any standards-based IP appliance. Incredible good 
fortune. Let's not pretend this is only a matter of semantics.

> content owners have maintained their oligopoly over multiple generations
> of technology. It will be no more difficult to move these oligopolies to
> the Internet, if all else stays the same.

They are already on the Internet, Craig. You are ONLY talking about a matter of 
degree. And indications are, from articles posted even by you, that even 
hold-outs like ESPN are deliberating their future.


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