17 Aug Support the Streaming Bill
Over the past several months you may have heard me talking about a bill at the State House that would help community media centers like MCTV as we face many unknowns about our future.
MCTV, like other media centers across the commonwealth, receives over 90% of its funding through franchise fees negotiated between the cable provider and the municipality. According to the Department of Telecommunications, the state is losing an average of 61,000 cable subscribers a year with many of them switching to one or multiple streaming services. Over the next ten years funding for all Community Media Centers across the Commonwealth is projected to drop from 76.3 million dollars to under 50 million dollars.
This decline in revenue would force organizations like MCTV to make reductions in the areas of staffing, equipment upkeep, and most importantly community support.
- 130/S.2200, known as “An Act Relative to a Streaming Entertainment Operator’s Use of the Public Rights of Way” is a bill that allows us to continue to support the community. Similar to the model of cable franchises where the operator pays a fee for using the public rights of way; this bill would impose a 5% fee on digital streaming providers like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime who use those same public rights of way to sell their services to the residents of Massachusetts. It equals the playing field in a changing technological landscape
Revenue generated through this would be distributed to the Commonwealth’s General Fund, Municipalities and Community Media Centers. With the General Fund receiving 20% of the revenue and Municipalities and Community Media Centers receiving 40% each.
Similar bills have been passed in over 12 states, as well as in individual municipalities in states such as California, Colorado and Illinois.
Passage of this bill helps organizations like us to have a clearer roadmap of our future and allow us to continue to provide the services that are essential to the community.
Right now we are looking at having two hearings about the bill at the state house in the Fall. In the meantime I ask you to contact your State Representative, State Senator and Board of Selectmen and tell them why Community Media is so important and that they support this bill.