Most communication policy debates and academic research focus on either ‘in front of’ or ‘behind’ the screen developments. The article argues that this dichotomy between ‘content’ and ‘transmission’ is false and considers how developments ‘behind’ and ‘inside’ the screen influence ‘in front of’ the screen aspects and, in turn, the user experience. It examines the growing complexity of the value chain of video distribution in the Internet age, explains the often contradictory interests of participants, and refers to relevant developments in Britain. The article discusses how transmission issues shape access to content and audiences. Increasingly, responsibility for the transmission, exchange and termination of digital content traffic lies with private commercial players who favour technological solutions, market and business models that are premised on exclusion and commercial priorities, and which as a result threaten universal, equitable, easy and affordable access to content. The resulting exclusion is in contradiction to inclusive discourses regarding content. The article therefore on the one hand highlights the argument that the dichotomy between content and infrastructure is artificial and on the other it points to the societal significance of the need to consider the interdependence between transmission and content.