My name is Kent Nichols, and I produce a comedy video series called AskANinja.com. In the last three years, I've reached millions of people and built a business based on my talent as a writer and comedian. I'm an actor and an entrepreneur, but in Hollywood, there is no way a show in which viewers email questions to a ninja would have ever been greenlighted by a producer. Fortunately, there's the internet, and because of the quality of the work and the constant feedback, I now have a web series that has a larger audience and more devoted fan base than a lot of cable shows. That is why I care about net neutrality.
To me, net neutrality means a media without gatekeepers. It means finally voices can be heard based on merits, not connections. On talent, not money.
In the past in order for your voice to be heard in any sort of mass media, you needed either a timeslot on a government-licensed broadcaster, or on one of the media conglomerates cable channel. On the broadcast channels, the FCC mandates certain standards, which promotes a general conservatism in what is placed on those channels.
Ditto for the cable channels, where five mega-corporations own the lion's share of outlets. They put significant money into creating channels and protecting their brands and value for their shareholders.
All of this adds up to Broadcast and Cable networks only creating shows from people with proven voices. These people, writer's that have been working within the Hollywood System for decades.
Beyond Hollywood, there is the further consolidation of newspapers and affiliate ownership in local markets across the country.
On the net, there is no such problem. Local blogs, indie media creators, and the mega-corporations all compete on an equal playing field for the audience's attention. There is equality because of the principal of Net Neutrality.
Net Neutrality gave an amateur like me the ability to create a show that is viewed by as many people as shows on cable tv, and seen by more readers than most daily newspapers. Our show did this without the support of a media cartel or a massive advertising budget. It achieved it's success with pluck and luck, a genuine American success story.
The reason I fight for Net Neutrality is not only for the survival of my voice and my business, but because I firmly believe that the next generation of creators deserves to have their voices heard. The Internet needs to be a free market of ideas, Net Neutrality allows that free market to continue to flourish.