Editorial: Broadcasting on Demand

FCC should meet end-of-year deadline for approving voluntary rollout of ATSC 3.0

The new ATSC 3.0 IP-based broadcast transmission standard promises a bouquet of new competitive options, from 4K pictures to better compression that will allow broadcasters to do more with less spectrum (see Washington).

Another of those potential blooms is multiplatform video-on-demand capability, which has given MVPDs a competitive advantage in a world of video consumers who want TV when and where they want it.

That broadcast on-demand functionality could take a variety of forms, from providing business-to-business transport services to their own VOD offerings of local programming, to a full-blown subscription VOD service using content from network partners. Then there are the vaunted emergency alerts, which could include on-demand videos with more detailed instructions on saving lives.

An NAB executive last week said that it could take a couple of years for broadcasters to get into that business once the FCC approves the rollout of ATSC 3.0.

We encourage FCC chairman Ajit Pai to keep the agency’s shoulder to the wheel and meet the end-of-year deadline for approving the voluntary rollout of the new standard. There are still some issues to be worked out, but nothing that should keep broadcasters from punching their ticket to an on-demand future.