US DoJ investigating pay-TV industry’s treatment of online video rivals

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has launched a wide-ranging antitrust investigation into whether the nation’s pay-TV companies are engaged in unfair practices in regards to their emerging competition from online video services, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The report (here) quotes “people familiar with the matter” as saying that DoJ officials have spoken to some of the biggest cablecos in the land, including Comcast and Time Warner Cable, over issues such as the imposition of data caps on their broadband customers, which effectively limit access to OTT services.

Also on the probe’s agenda is the pay-TV industry’s unpopular practice of obliging consumers to buy packages of channels before being able to access certain online programming, and the so-called “most-favoured nation” clauses included in many content deals, which force content owners to give the biggest operators the best price being offered anywhere.

For its part, Comcast has recently been denying that it favours the transmission of content for its ‘Xfinity TV’ service to the Xbox 360 games console over other traffic on its network, with CTO Tony Werner taking to the company blog last month to issue a detailed statement denying the allegations – here.

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