Senate Commerce to Tackle Online Video

Barry Diller to headline witness list

Talk about understatement. "Everything about television is changing," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), in announcing the Commerce Committee's hearing next week on "The Emergence of Online Video: Is It the Future?"

The hearing, set for Tuesday, will examine how traditional TV is migrating to the Internet and how "disruptive technologies" are changing the business and legal models for TV and video.

To take on this ambitious topic, Rockefeller has lined up four witnesses who are no strangers to new media platforms and technology, including Barry Diller, the chairman and senior executive of media and advertising company IAC and an investor in Aereo, an upstart pay TV service that delivers broadcast TV via the Internet. Others on the panel are Susan Whiting, vice chairman of Nielsen; Paul Misener, vp of global public policy for; and Blair Westlake, corporate vp of Microsoft's media and entertainment group.

"I want to focus this hearing on what these changes mean for consumers, especially in rural areas, and if this evolution of video can bring them higher quality content at lower rates," Rockefeller said.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is planning a similar hearing in the coming months.