Today, the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing on the reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA) of 2010, addressing the nation's video marketplace and online video distribution. Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman welcomed testimony from companies that are based in California's 33rd District and employ many of the District's constituents, including DirecTV and Disney Media Networks:
"I represent many interested parties in today's debate in my congressional district. Many of my constituents are the artists, writers, producers, and directors whose creativity drives consumer demand for video and who deserve to be compensated fairly. And many of my constituents work at the studios and media companies like Disney that make desirable content available to consumers.
"I also represent companies like the Santa Monica based Tennis Channel. The Tennis Channel is an independent cable channel that offers consumers unique tennis and tennis-related programming.
"Congress sought to protect the diversity offered by independent channels like the Tennis Channel in the 1992 Cable Act by adopting provisions to guard against discrimination by vertically integrated distributors.
"The CEO of the Tennis Channel, Ken Solomon, sent the Committee a letter today outlining his perspective on the effectiveness of the FCC's so-called "program carriage' rules. I ask unanimous consent that Mr. Solomon's letter be entered into the record. I hope our discussion today will include consideration of whether today's video marketplace is making diverse and independent content available to all Americans.
"I am proud that my congressional district also includes the headquarters of DirecTV, the second largest video distributor in the United States, now serving over 20 million subscribers. Not only does DirectTV have approximately 3000 employees based in El Segundo, California, the company operates 100% California made satellites, some of which were also produced in my congressional district. As one of the satellite providers that this legislation was originally designed to assist, DirectTV can educate the Subcommittee about why it believes the Act should be reauthorized, what aspects of STELA are working well, and what parts of the law might need to be modified. I would like to extend a special welcome to our witness from DirectTV, Mr. Palkovic."