FCC Wants The Cable Industry To Put More Of Your Favorite TV Online

The Federal Communications Commission might only approve a Time Warner/Charter merger that puts more cable-only content on the Internet.

FCC Wants The Cable Industry To Put More Of Your Favorite TV Online
Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla

The Federal Communications Commission wants to get rid of the holdup that keeps much of today's TV content off of online streaming platforms.

Sure, you can use HBO Go or WatchESPN these days, but when you think TV, chances are what you're looking for is still on the living room screen before it's anywhere else.

You can thank provider contracts. The Wall Street Journal writes, "The cable firms often insist on inserting clauses that prevent the media companies from simultaneously providing their programs to an online provider, industry insiders say."

Even with the triple-digit growth in the over-the-top streaming market, the TV industry has a nearly $90 billion reason to keep things as they are.

But the FCC might be stepping in to break up some of the exclusivity. Charter and Time Warner want to merge into New Charter, and an expected condition of the deal is a reduction in contractual content locks.

For us consumers, that means more of what we've traditionally watched from the couch could make it online.

Charter agrees, at least as far as its official statements to the FCC go. It says despite that revenue discrepancy from before, the growth is currently in broadband, not traditional television. Therefore, "New Charter will have every incentive to promote online video distributors and other edge providers."

It will be up to the FCC to see that through. New Charter won't become a thing until the commission finishes its review.

This video includes clips from the Federal Communications CommissionESPNHBO and Charter and images from Getty Images.