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A multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) is an entity that makes available for purchase, by subscribers or customers, multiple channels of video programming.


MVPDs include (1) cable operators, such as Time Warner and Comcast Corporation ("Comcast"), which transmit programming over physical cable systems; (2) direct broadcast satellite ("DBS") providers, such as DISH Network and DIRECTV, which transmit programming via direct-to-home satellite; and (3) telephone companies, such as AT&T and Verizon, which transmit programming via fiber-optic cable. While MVPDs primarily transmit programming to televisions, increasingly, they also offer access to their programming through the Internet. MVPDs sometimes acquire ownership interests in the networks from which they obtain video programming, and vice versa. Such networks are deemed "affiliated" with MVPDs, whereas networks without any shared ownership interests are deemed "unaffiliated." The "geographic footprint[]" of an MVPD varies based on the type and size of the MVPD. Cable operators, for instance, operate in "discrete geographic areas defined by the boundaries of their individual systems," and "[n]o cable operator provides nationwide coverage or statewide coverage." Telephone companies are similarly limited by their physical systems. By contrast, DBS providers have "national footprints," offering "service to most of the land area and population of the United States."[1]


  1. Time Warner Cable, Inc. v. F.C.C., 729 F.3d 137 (2d Cir. 2013) (citations omitted) (full-text).