Hardy focused on addressing issues of programming distribution rights and broadcast ownership limits in 2017. “These issues are critical right now because the future of the video programming industry is uncertain,” he says. “Companies are fighting for every advantage, which includes obtaining the most desirable programming at the best possible price.” Hardy combines the industry with his love of the outdoors, negotiating a settlement for the construction of wireless telephone towers near the Appalachian Trail and moderating a panel on the placement of such towers near national scenic trails.
What have been the most important legal issues in communications for you in the past year?
Programming distribution rights and broadcast ownership limits have been the most important legal issues for me in the past year. These issues are critical right now because the future of the video programming industry is uncertain. Companies are fighting for every advantage, which includes obtaining the most desirable programming at the best possible price. This made retransmission consent negotiations this past year crucial for MVPDs and broadcasters. Because of the uncertain future, many smaller companies are exploring their options for the near and long term, which include being acquired or winding down. Therefore, regulatory constraints on ownership were top-of-mind for both buyers and sellers.
What new legal issues do you expect in 2018?
Video programming providers are going to seek new platforms and outlets for their programming due to increased competition, leading to unique monetization models. Strategic drafting of contracts will be a critical factor in realizing these opportunities. A continued deregulatory push from the government will also provide for new prospects. Providers will need to participate in the rulemaking and legislative process to ensure that these opportunities are not foreclosed whenever a new administration takes the reins.
What movie superhero would you most like to be and how would that character fit into the legal world of communications?
I would most like to be Bruce Banner/The Hulk from Marvel’s Avengers. Bruce Banner has the intelligence of Tony Stark, but knows the limits of technical solutions and when the heart should rule the head. Additionally, when neither the law nor the facts are on your side, The Hulk can really pound on the table.