If there was any question about the FCC looking hard at online video distribution in its Comcast/NBCU merger review, there isn't any now.
The FCC Friday issued an
"information and discovery" request to NBC Universal asking for specific
information (59 separate requests, with multiple parts to many of
those) on everything from an organizational
chart for all of its divisions (#1) to a timeline for how it will
divest KWHY-TV Los Angeles and take care of a newspaper/station issue
involving KXAS-TV Fort Worth (#58 and #59). In between, online video
distribution gets a lot of attention.
There are plenty of questions about delivery of video both via traditional means and over the Internet, including all discussion with online video distributors (Boxee, YouTube) and why they did or did not come to a deal.
It also wants "all strategic plans, policies, analyses, and presentations prepared for, presented to, reviewed by, discussed by, or considered by the company’s board of directors or the company’s executive management, or any member thereof, relating to the Company’s entry into the distribution of video programming over the Internet.
To check out all the questions, click here.
The FCC has stopped the clock on the merger review (after only 29 days), but plans to restart it June 3. The data requests suggests they are ready to dig in. Their outside manager for the process comes aboard Monday (May 24).
According to one industry source, such a data request usually does not come this early in the process, which is a good sign, they said. The deadline for the request is June 11.