Consumer demand and technological change will drive stunning growth in online video for years to come, so long as Internet access is widely available to all, a Senate committee heard Tuesday.
But he urged Congress to ensure that “the rules of the game favor entry and innovation” and not the financial interests of “incumbents” — his code word for cable, telephone and satellite providers keen to guard profitable turf.
Diller — a former Hollywood studio and television boss who now oversees Aereo, which relays local TV channels to Internet viewers for a monthly fee — also lamented the relatively poor state of the US broadband network.
Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from rural West Virginia, convened the hearing — the first of its kind on Capitol Hill, he said — to reflect on how online video might lead to better content for less cost.
Susan Whiting, vice chair of television ratings organization Neilsen, said Americans on average watch five hours of video a day — most of it still in real time on traditional television sets.
But with the number of Americans with Internet access doubling since 2000, and video now available on smartphones and tablets, Whiting said more and more viewing is taking place on both computers and mobile devices.
Microsoft’s vice president for media and entertainment, Blair Westlake, cited the software giant’s Xbox evolution from a gaming console to a video entertainment hub as an example of how fast technology is changing.
But he stressed that universal access to high-speed broadband was “the single most important issue shaping the future of video.”
Paul Misener, vice president for global public policy at Amazon.com, the online bookseller that now also offers streaming video, said consumers were in the driver’s seat when it came to establishing new ways to watch video.
But “this assumes the Internet will remain a non-discriminatory, open platform,” he said, urging “vigilance” against “immutable or unrealistically priced” ceilings on how much data subscribers can download.