FCC testimony on media ownership: Tim Treanor

Good evening, my name is Tim Treanor. I’m the CEO of a Seattle-based website, a web-casting services company called Online Video Service. As a public service, we also web-cast events live on the internet so people around the nation can watch this proceeding to provide greater transparency in the policy-making process. Our only video service -- which started in 1999 -- has become one of the leading web-casting service providers for the dot-org and -edu marketplace. We have […] clients: major state and federal offices as well as foundations and universities.

I’m not speaking on behalf of my clients, but I do mention them to understand the issues involved for the public affairs marketplace and to briefly discuss my company’s perspective to the media ownership question. It’s the issue of network neutrality. Since we founded Online Video Service in 1999, we have seen internet video; we have seen that the well-hyped promise of internet broadcasting is starting to become a reality. We have faster bandwidth connection speeds, increased PC power, greater validity of media players, and a new industry is being formed (and that’s internet broadcasting as you’re well aware).

It is very early but we believe that internet broadcasting will […]. Several well-known, large entertainment properties such as You-Tube will become household names, and like the mosaic of the internet, you will find access to all kinds of video programming, including public affairs, religious, educational, non-profits, and so on. The reason why network neutrality is an important issue to our company is that we need to ensure that all programming on the internet continues to be treated equally.

[…] which is best summed up by the words in George Orwell’s book: ‘all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.’ Currently the internet is still overwhelmingly text-based and graphics, leaving plenty of backbone capacity for virtually all organizations. But video of the internet is significantly more complex then text and images and requires dramatically more infrastructure on the backbone to ensure that there is overall bandwidth capacity in years to come.

As this build up continues over the next several years, telecommunication carriers and large content providers could enter into business relationships that could start to make their content more equal than others. A web-casting public affairs program is what we call stakeholder media. For example, there are more than three hundred people watching this event live on the internet tonight.

Web-casting is an important tool for citizens, corporations, and government organizations to engage in policy-making and to improve government transparency. In fact, governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California signed a new executive order mandating all California state agencies to broadcast public meetings over the internet. As more and more government organizations and non-profits begin to web cast, these proceedings are in the near future.

[…] one of the most popular pieces of video content right now on You-Tube is called ‘Crazy Dog,’ a home movie of a dog biting its own tail. That piece of content has been watched by more than 6 million people. Tonight’s hearing, frankly all public affairs programming, will never be as popular as say ‘Crazy Dog.’ However, it is paramount for governmental organizations to ensure now that public affairs programming for the dot-org, -gov, and -edu markets continue to receive full and open access to the internet. Thank you.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey