The Case for Extending and Strengthening the Comcast/NBCU Consent Decree

When
-

Location
Capitol Visitor Center
SVC 215
Washington DC, 20515

Join us for a conversation about the implications of the upcoming expiration of the Department of Justice's Comcast/NBCU consent decree for consumers and competition in the cable, programming, and online video markets

RSVP here or using the form below.

In 2011, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) found that Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal (NBCU) would harm consumers and competition in the video distribution, programming, and online video markets. The DOJ found the merger violated Section 7 of the Clayton Antitrust Act, and the FCC found the merger did not serve the public interest. The parties negotiated conditions and a consent decree to allow the transaction to close.

This past January, the FCC’s conditions lapsed. Despite calls for them to be extended, the FCC took no action. In September, the DOJ consent decree is set to expire.

Our panel will outline the harms the DOJ and the FCC found the Comcast-NBCU merger posed to consumers and competition - including the cable, video programming, and online video markets. We will discuss whether those harms were sufficiently remedied by the DOJ consent decree and the FCC conditions, and whether the dangers the conditions were intended to address are still relevant today.

Finally, our panel of experts will answer your questions, including whether the DOJ has the tools it needs to review the effectiveness of its merger remedies, and extend and strengthen expiring conditions if necessary. We will also explore what the DOJ's renewed emphasis on structural merger remedies could mean for Comcast-NBCU, and what lessons policymakers and antitrust enforcement agencies should apply to future vertical mergers between video distributors and programmers.

Opening remarks by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Panelists:

David Goodfriend, President, Goodfriend Government Affairs

Caroline Holland, Mozilla Tech Policy Fellow, former Chief Counsel for Competition Policy & Intergovernmental Relations, U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division

Ross Lieberman, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, American Cable Association

Hal Singer, Senior Fellow, George Washington Institute of Public Policy, The George Washington University

Moderator: Phillip Berenbroick, Senior Policy Counsel, Public Knowledge

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