US streamers create new industry lobby group

Leading US streamers including Netflix, Disney, Comcast, Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount have grouped together to create a new organization to lobby for policies favourable to streaming.

The Streaming Innovation Alliance says it will advocate for US federal and state policies that build on the “strong, competitive, and pro-consumer market” for streaming video.

The group’s membership includes streaming outfits, ForUsByUs Network, Max, Netflix, Paramount+, Peacock, TelevisaUnivision, VaultAccess, ViX and The Walt Disney Company.

The alliance has hired a bipartisan pair of Washington insiders as senior advisors: Fred Upton, a Republican 36-year veteran of Congress who served as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Democrat Mignon Clyburn, who served as acting chair of the Federal Communications Commission.

To mark its launch, the alliance released a poll that purported to show that registered voters overwhelmingly favor streaming innovation and are wary of proposals to regulate the market.

Seven out of 10 voters polled viewed streaming services favorably, with approval even higher among younger voters and in communities of colour, it said.

While respondents were concerned about the risks associated with online platforms, the alliance said that those fears did not translate to video streaming services. It found that voters wre twice as likely to trust streaming services with their data as social media networks

According to the alliance, the poll also showed that voters are concerned that  new regulations could require streaming services to collect more data – by a majority of two to one ­– or deter them from offering sensitive programming. And two-thirds fear new rules will threaten diverse and independent services the most.

Charles Rivkin, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association, who played a leading role in organising the Streaming Innovation Alliance, said: “Streaming provides great value, vast programming choices, and unprecedented options for consumers. The MPA looks forward to working with the SIA and its members to ensure federal and state policy propels this incredible innovation forward – and doesn’t undermine the value and diversity consumers are enjoying today.”

Clyburn said: “Streaming services have opened up a new era of progress for program diversity that is bringing relevant stories and options to historically underserved communities at a record pace while opening doors for production jobs to people of color that have been shut for decade. Any policy that drags down streaming would turn back the clock on this vital progress as well.”

Upton said: “The rise of innovative, new video streaming services is an American success story we should celebrate and encourage, not smother with obsolete and ill-fitting rules and regulations designed for completely different technology, products, and business models. Viewers have never gotten more for their entertainment dollar, and I urge policymakers to resist any effort to curtail this hugely beneficial innovation. Let’s not allow some backwards looking regulatory scheme to block gains consumers so strongly value and appreciate today.”

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