This is the first time we’ve seen this particular argument about the FCC’s foolish repeal of net neutrality rules. And in many ways, for this TVWriter™ minion it’s the scariest one yet:
The latest battle to save the internet will be fought in the halls of Congress, and if it’s lost, the pool of fresh talent that led to “Broad City,” “High Maintenance,” and “Insecure” could be lost too.
by Aymar Jean Christian
Congress now has less than two months to reinstate net neutrality after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed the Obama-era order.
They must act.
The FCC repeal allows internet and mobile service providers (ISPs) like Comcast and Verizon to discriminate against publishers, from Netflix, YouTube, and Vimeo, charging them higher carriage fees. It allows for what is called “zero-rating,” where ISPs like AT&T that own content companies like DirecTV can make it free for their customers to watch their own products while charging for data usage from its competitors. It will continue the practice of tiered pricing, where we as consumers can be charged more based on the data we use.
The repeal of net neutrality will kill the TV revolution few people are paying attention to. Most of the media interest in net neutrality has focused on how big companies like Netflix can reach customers without having to charge us more.
But in fact, Netflix created a workaround and partnered with the major ISPs after it accused Comcast of throttling its traffic many years ago. Companies like Google, Netflix, Hulu, Apple, and Amazon all have relatively healthy stock valuations and will be fine even without net neutrality. They have the resources to create workarounds and partnerships with other conglomerates.
The real casualty of net neutrality with be independent creators who are not yet affiliated with big corporations. These creators are critical to cultural innovation via the internet.
In my most recent book, Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television, I track decades of innovation borne of an open, net-neutral web. Generations of storytellers have used the internet to experiment with different ways to produce TV, create different ways for audiences to interact with it, and promote narratives more diverse than what Hollywood invests in. The 100-plus independent producers I interviewed revealed their frustrations with Hollywood’s inability to open up development and let more people make TV — which is why they created their own shows and uploaded them directly to the web.
Because all internet traffic was treated equally, indie producers could amass huge fan bases for their series or find the stakeholders they need to get to the next level. Issa Rae might be the most famous for this: Her series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” broke a decade of Hollywood barely giving black women a chance to create their own series, particularly darker-skinned women with natural hair and an explicitly black feminist perspective on the world….